This morning I had to run over to our church with Matthew and Anna to grab a Bible my husband had left there over the weekend. I was trying to move fast in order to get back before he had to go to work. We ran in the building, and while hauling Matthew on one hip, I told Anna "Ok, head to the sanctuary."
"The SANCTUARY?" Anna asked excitedly. "Ok!"
We headed to the sanctuary, where I rushed in looking for the Bible. Anna, however, stopped in the middle of the room and took in a deep breath of awe.
"The SANCTUARY!" she exclaimed. "Oh, it's BEAUTIFUL!"
She walked up and down a row touching the chairs, saying, "oh, look at these chairs!" She took a moment to drink the whole room in.
Now, she was born in this church. (Well, not IN the church, but you know what I mean.) She has been here her whole life. That sanctuary is as familiar to her as her own living room. When she gets there for Sunday morning worship, she often just kicks off her shoes and starts running around. (And then she gets a time-out for running, but that's another story.) There was nothing new or breathtaking about the room. Yet when she walked in, her tiny 3-year old self was captivated by the beauty of God's house of worship.
On one hand, this is just a cute story about Anna and her drama queen-ness. These days everything is a dramatic event for Anna. She's becoming a pint-sized diva. One the other hand though, there is a deeper message for me.
Why don't I respond that way to the things of God? Why don't I walk into that sanctuary and exclaim, "oh, it's beautiful!" When was the last time I stopped to consider the greatness of what He has provided for us? This is the place I worship, where I connect with God. What is more beautiful than that? This is the place where believers gather together to marvel at God's greatness. Why don't I stop and consider the breathtaking beauty of that?
I am in our church building approximately 498 times a week. And today I realized that it has become commonplace for me. It's just, you know, the building, the sanctuary. But today I stopped and looked at it through my daughter's eyes - and, I believe, God's eyes. He doesn't see it as common and ordinary. He doesn't see it as just another room. He sees it as a gift He gave his children so they could have a place to gather and worship Him. He sees it as a precious meeting place for Him and His people. It's been anointed and set apart for a holy purpose. While it should be a comfortable, familiar place, it shouldn't be "just another room." It is a place of honor where I meet with the God of the universe.
Now, I know, I know, the Church is not a building, it's the people. That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about something bigger than just the four walls of the sanctuary. I'm talking about an attitude of reverence for God and those things that are of Him. My relationship with God becomes commonplace too. I can talk to Him anytime about anything, so you know, it's just God, we're good and all. Nothing special. Nothing special?! The God that created aardvarks and sodium and Pluto and the electron and stardust wants to have a relationship with ME. How can I treat that as something ordinary? How can I just run in and out of it, grab what I need, whatever I forgot over the weekend, and run back out to the next thing? When was the last time I stopped and looked at Him for who He is as well as those things that are important to Him and said, "oh, it's beautiful!" I run from place to place just expecting God will be there, and He will be - but I don't want to treat Him and commonplace any more that I want to treat His ways, His power, His gifts, and yes, even His house of worship as commonplace. He deserves so much more than that, and I was created to worship and revere Him, not brush Him aside.
Today my daughter taught me a lesson in how I see and treat the things of God. She sees wonder and delight where I see commonplace. I want my perspective to be more like hers. This is surely a piece of what Jesus said when He said to have faith like a child. May we all hold a child's sense of wonder and beauty close to our hearts and see those things that are precious to Him as precious to us.