Linda Rondstadt would probably be surprised to learn that a communion meditation sold one of her albums, but it did. When Judy, a few weeks ago, used a song from the album Trio, featuring Rondstadt, Dolly Parton, and Emmy Lou Harris, titled “Feels Like Home,” Frances and I decided to get it. I won’t try to repeat what Judy said but her theme deserves re-emphasis. The verses of this Randy Newman song make it clear that the reason it feels like home to her is because there is someone there who loves her.
I thought of this as I studied and began memorizing Psalm 84 last week. The first four verses say: How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts. My soul is longing and yearning for the courts of the Lord. My heart and my flesh cry out to the living God. Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself in which she sets her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my king and my God.” Clearly, the Psalmist feels he has found a home, the dwelling place of God, His temple in Jerusalem. There he feels loved, secure, and safe in the presence of the Lord of hosts, his king and God.
We too can find our home in the very place where God dwells, but it isn’t in the temple on Mt Zion in Jerusalem. In the NT, Jesus refers to his own body as the new temple and Paul speaks of God living fully in Him. Remarkably, the NT also speaks of us, the church, God’s people, as his dwelling place. Ephesians 2:19 says, “You … are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household.” It goes on to say that the apostles and prophets are the foundation and Christ is the cornerstone and the whole building is “a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”
Today the Psalmist, if he were a Christian, would look at the church and say, “How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts.” That is what I want to say today. This church feels like home to me because I sense God’s love through you in it. It is a love that begins with God in Christ at the table. Here is his overwhelming, unconditional love that was demonstrated on the cross and remembered by us at the table. From this table his love flows out throughout his holy temple, his reconciled people, to you and me. That’s why it is so good to be here. It feels like home.
How can we make sure it continues to feel like home? The song that follows “Feels Like Home”on the album tells me how. Sung by Emmy Lou Harris it is titled, “When We’re Gone, Long Gone,” and the chorus says: “And when we’re gone, long gone, the only thing that will have mattered is the love that we shared and the way that we cared, when we’re gone, long gone.”
It was love that created the church and it is love that will sustain it. At this table we are reminded of where it all began. If there has been a failure to love, let us repent, and resolve to love again.