One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.
5 For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
and set me high upon a rock.
Psalm 27: 4-5
Has the term “shelter” taken on a new meaning for you in recent times? I know it has for me. I use to think of shelter as the place where you are safe primarily from inclement weather threats. I remember “sheltering” in our basement during tornado threats when I was a child. I remember taking “shelter” from the surprise shower that showed up out of nowhere while I was working on the farm with dad. However, during the COVID-19 Pandemic, we were indeed sheltering from a danger in the outside world, but it was a virus, rather than inclement weather that was posing a threat to us. This type of “sheltering in place” became very old and annoying to me after far too many hours spent indoors, so much so that I now shudder just a bit at this once comforting word of “shelter.”
Even if we didn’t always like it, our homes did become for us a place of safety during this crisis. The grocery store was potentially hazardous. Restaurants that once brought joy now only brought fear. Our workplace may have been filled with threats. Even returning to the once familiar and friendly church building may have seemed dangerous for some of us. Yes, the comfort of our home seemed to be the only safe space, the only shelter – even if we grew tired of it.
But David in Psalm 27 points us to a different kind of Shelter. He says his desire is to dwell in the house of the Lord forever, to see the Lord’s beauty, and to stay safe in His dwelling place. Perhaps the shelter David was first thinking of was the temple, or the tabernacle, the place of worship for God’s chosen people. However, for us, we have a new temple. God has a new place of residence for us. God has chosen to dwell with us in and through His Son our Lord Christ Jesus (See John 1:14).
In a day when no where may seem safe for you, perhaps not even your home or the church building, may you be encouraged today that your shelter is found in Christ Jesus. You have safety and security forever through His Word and Sacraments. You are a baptized child of God. You have received his body and blood. You have heard his word. What better shelter could you possibly ask for?
Lord Jesus, in my day of trouble, keep me safe in your dwelling place. Hide me under the shadow of your wings, in the shelter of your saving grace. Amen.
Written by: Pastor Koenig