I sat in an empty church the other day. One that I don’t attend, or ever have for that matter. But as it so happened, my Father was taking the services there. I was there with him and my mother as they busied themselves with the preparation for the Services the next day.
Growing up as a daughter of an Anglican Vicar meant that a lot of time was spent in churches between the Sunday services. So while this church itself was not familiar, the elements and sensations were. From the smell of the candles, the look of wooden pews ready for the worshippers, the Sanctuary with the Altar and the impact the Stained Glass windows have on the light inside.
Feelings of comfort as the preparation tasks were done. Flashbacks of childhood seeing the Chalices, the candles, the priests garments. Feelings of awe and reverence of being in a place set aside for worship of our Lord. Privilege even, of being in this place before the doors are flung open wide to invite worshippers to come. Blessed with the steadfast and wise counsel I received within those hallowed walls from my parents as they went about their tasks.
It was a stolen moment in time. A fleeting moment. And I could have lingered so. For it was like coming home. Sitting in the House of the Lord, knowing that His name is exalted and worshipped in this place and has been for so many years. Feeling the Presence of God and His nearness. Feeling the peace. It was a lovely reminder of my childhood.
I wonder if Jesus felt the same when He entered the temple in Jerusalem. A sense of coming home – being in His Father’s house, where people would come and worship His Father.
He must of, because He lingered.
“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49)