Built upon the living stone, made for you, and you alone
It isn't far from where you stand, distracted by this world's demands
Just inside, and up the stair, a friend is sitting, waiting there.
These are the first few lines of a song by Christian artist Don Francisco. In his immortal words, the artist shows how we, the People of God, are the dwelling-place of the Most High & because we are His dwelling-place, we can have peace in the midst of turmoil. While the cares of this world cannot fail but touch us; because we have His Spirit Within, we can weather any storm, overcome any obstacle.
It is a well-established fact that the best way to live is in Community: oh, sure, it's possible to live, for a time, without its many blessings, but sooner or later, we all need that infusion of life-blood: otherwise, like a plant without water, those who try to live apart from Community end up dry & useless. The blessings of Community are still present, but unless one accepts that most basic of needs, they will end up with no root & blown about by the wind!
Covenant is the most important aspect of Life! Without Covenant of some sort, to whatever extent, it is impossible to survive even the smallest of storms. In order to even subsist, one must accept their need for food, water & all that is necessary for biological life. While this acknowledgment may not be considered by most to be a covenant; even though it be unspoken, it is a covenant nonetheless, for unless we acknowledge these most basic needs, we will not long survive the storms that batter us on a daily basis.
Love too, is a most basic need. Without Love, Life itself would cease to exist! One can go out about the day-to-day drudgery of this biological life, but without some sort of manifestation of Love, no matter how faint or shallow, they will soon tire of this existence & be ushered off this mortal coil, so to speak. Food & water, the most basic needs of biological existence, would not be possible without the Providence of the Creator, for the rain that makes the plants grow, even the bountiful waters that flow, come ultimately from His Almighty Hand!
Scripture speaks of a Temple 'made without hands' ( Mark 14:58 ( Daniel 2:45 ); Further study shows that we, the People of the Creator God, ARE that Temple! The Psalmist wrote, 'in His temple everyone says, “Glory!”' ( Psalm 29:9b ); it is in His Temple, in His people, that the Creator God is glorified! In His Temple, only Love is spoken, for in His Temple is only Love. The Scriptures also say that 'God is love' ( I John 4:8 ); since He is Love, so must we be ( I John 4:17 ( John 9:5 )! That Love is best expressed in Covenant Community!
The Covenant Community can take several different forms: it may consist of a group of people who have signed a written agreement to live together in unity, or it may simply involve living in community, no matter ones geographical location. The Psalmist, again, as the voice of the Creator God, speaks of 'Those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice' ( Psalm 50:5b ); Living in Love is sacrificial living! In order to truly Love another, one must be willing to give up, or sacrifice, ones own desires for the good of another, or others. Is this not the example that the Christ set for us when He walked this earth?
Food & Water, Light & Love; all these are necessary to the existence of biological life, but is that all there is to Life? Jesus told His disciples, 'I have food to eat of which you do not know' ( John 4:32 ). We know that He was not referring to physical substances, like bread & wine, for example, so more important to Life than its biological counterparts is the spiritual sustenance of which Jesus spoke.
You may have heard that, 'No man is an island'; a truer statement has never been made! History has proven that while some have apparently been able to exist for some time without the constituent elements of Community ( although one can never get away from Covenant ), but, before long, one must be revitalized or this biological life will pass away like a shadow! The need for Love, though often unspoken, is the greatest of necessities; if one does not have Love, in its many varied forms, one has nothing!
In the Temple of the Creator God, otherwise known as the Covenant Community, Love abounds! Only Love is spoken there, for Love is all there is. Love has many different guises, many of which are not recognized as such in today's world, but simply because they are not recognized, or acknowledged as such; the glorious & unchanging fact remains: we ARE Love!
Charles Haddon Shank