|Here's the church, here's the steeple, open the doors and see all the people.|
Where does God live? What is this house I love? Is it heaven? That's where most people seem to think God lives, after all. But no reliable authority actually teaches that the heavens are "God's house" and that we should gaze up there longingly. In fact, Luke says the opposite (Acts 1:10-11)—at least about the gazing part.
In the Hebrew Bible, God's house seems to be the Temple. And perhaps that's what the psalmist meant when s/he wrote, "I love the house in which you dwell." But when that Temple was dedicated, Solomon—the king who built it—prayed, "But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Even heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, much less this house that I have built!" And anyway, that Temple has been destroyed. Twice. Surely God was not left homeless!
The New Testament has other ideas. Two, specifically. And both of them offer very good objects for my love. First, Paul wrote to the Colossians that in Christ "the whole fullness of Deity dwells bodily." And Jesus himself referred to himself as the Temple of God in John 2:18-21. So when a Christian prays Psalm 26:8, we are referring to Christ as the place where God is at home and where God's glory dwells.
But the New Testament also reminds us (and this is the second thing) that the church is the body of Christ, and that its members are the receptacles of the Holy Spirit—together, the very Temple of God. To love God's dwelling place is to love the church—not the institution, and certainly not the building, but the people of God.
Help me, O God, to look to Christ as your home, and the body of Christ as your dwelling place. May I look for your glory in the faithfulness of your saints. I pray in his Name as he taught me: Our Father