Dear Church family,
This Saturday at 2pm we are celebrating and blessing the 100th house with River Valley Habitat for Humanity. All are welcome to attend this short ceremony; details and directions are at the bottom of this e-votional.
Our congregation was honored to sponsor this house, just as we sponsored the very first Habitat house in Fort Smith, as well as the 50th house. You may or may not know that First Presbyterian was instrumental in starting the Habitat chapter in Fort Smith. I like to think about all of the reasons we did that. I’m certain we did it out of care and compassion for our local community. I would guess we did it because we respect Habitat’s mission of giving “hand ups” and not “hand outs.” But I also think we did it because, in offering shelter, we get to show the image of God that was implanted in us at our creation.
This is what I mean: God is called many names and titles in scripture. He is given many descriptions. One of the most common is “shelter.”
This overarching term sometimes means the one who covers us, such as this wonderful image from Psalm 91: “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you can hide.”
Shelter can also mean protection, like when God is called our refuge or our safe place, even our “hiding place” (see Psalm 32). One of my own favorite passages shares this beautifully: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble.” (Psalm 46).
Finally, God is referred to as shelter, meaning our home. When you think about it, home was Jesus’ mission. God sent his Son into our world to make a home among us and now, after his resurrection, he is busy making a new home for us. It is one of the promises he made to us at the end of his life here on earth: “In My Father’s house are many rooms,” he said, “if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14). That means Jesus is laying the slab, installing the windows and screwing on the doorknobs, all to get a home ready for us. When we get to do that for someone else, we really are acting like Jesus, showing God’s image that is planted in us.
What a blessing this “home-making” is: the kind God and his Son do for us and the kind we get to do for others.
Make God be your cover today, your safe place, your home.
In Jesus name,
Habitat House Dedication
Saturday, September 9, 2017
412 South 12th Street
Between C and D Street
A block east off Towson Ave.