Refuge? Sometimes I have to think – is it really wrong for a church to be a refuge? That word has been percolating for a while. Listened a while back to a sermon on that word and it still sticks in my head. We hear so much about churches being a refuge for the folks who really don’t want to know anything about this Christ we serve.
Read this passage the other day, from The Message rendering, Psalm 91, first part:
You who sit down in the High God’s presence,
spend the night in Shaddai’s shadow,
Say this: “God, you’re my refuge.
I trust in you and I’m safe!”
That’s right—he rescues you from hidden traps,
shields you from deadly hazards.
His huge outstretched arms protect you—
under them you’re perfectly safe;
his arms fend off all harm.
Yes, because God’s your refuge,
the High God your very own home,
Evil can’t get close to you,
harm can’t get through the door.
He ordered his angels
to guard you wherever you go.
If you stumble, they’ll catch you;
their job is to keep you from falling.
You’ll walk unharmed among lions and snakes,
and kick young lions and serpents from the path.
Now I suppose I won’t be kicking lions and serpents anytime soon but the imagery is pretty hard to miss. Sometimes we talk about miracles and we are all expecting some great show and we can just sit back and say wow. But what if we understood a miracle is the simple fact that God is in our midst and actually cares and shows it?
I’ve seen a few miracles the last couple of days, and they did make me say wow, but there wasn’t any great wonders going on. Simply in some way and right at the proper time and in the right place some people reached out and God put people right there.
I wonder if that is what those verses mean – God will send his angels to guard you. If you stumble, they’ll catch you. Jesus tells me that when I follow Him I will have a door open right in front of me – I choose whether to walk through but when I do, maybe that door will lead me to someone who will be that angel for me, or maybe the other way around and I’m the angel if you will. In Matthew 25:31-40, Jesus tells us to serve the least of these, as in that way we are actually serving Him.
So yes, a church has to be a refuge – both serving those coming inside and reaching out to serve those outside the doors. To do one or the other seems to chop up the Gospel message.
What do you think?
Be blessed and be a blessing.