Dwelling places
by Rev. Aleese Kenitzer
May 17, 2023

There’s a couch at a friend’s house that I always sit on when I’m there. For sure, there are several other places I could sit. Over time, the right corner of this well-loved couch has become my “nook.” As soon as I nestle down into those cushions, I feel at home and can take a load off from the day.

It’s amusing how much this spot has become an oasis for me. Whether that place is in our own home, in that of another, or somewhere outside, many of us likely have those dwelling places where we feel “at home.” In those places, we can be ourselves, fully, and in those places, we can allow ourselves to be still, even for a moment.

The thing is, though, that sometimes those places are difficult to find. Sometimes there isn’t enough time to land in one spot for more than a minute or two! So then, where and how do we find our dwelling place?

Recently, at Shepherd of the Cross, we heard Jesus promise his disciples that he was preparing a place for them. Often, this promise has been couched (no pun intended) in terms of everlasting life. Looking more deeply at this promise, we recognized that the places Jesus prepares for us are not only places in the future. They are dwelling places – here and now – where we can remain in God’s presence and can be ourselves without fear of repercussion. If that’s not enough, by the power of the Spirit, we find those dwelling places within ourselves as Christ dwells in us and as we dwell in Christ. So, even if we find it challenging to land in our favorite nook on the couch for more than a minute at a time, we can still find our dwelling place within ourselves and within God.

“Aleese,” you may be thinking, “all that’s well and good, but I still need a physical space to be myself; I need a physical space to gather with others without judgment, and I need a physical space where I’m supported and loved.” Well, know this, friends, you’re not alone. In the past few weeks, it’s become increasingly apparent to me that many people in our community are seeking these “dwelling places.”

If that’s so, what would it be like to foster those dwelling places in our community? Places where we could see one another – fully – for who we are? Places where we could generously listen to one another? Places where we could honor one another and where we’ve come from? Places where we could accompany one another as we journey in faith and life? If places like that sound appealing to you, I hear ya. Even as someone intimately connected with several community groups, still, I find myself searching for – and trying to foster – these sorts of intentional dwelling places.

So, this summer, what would it be like to be mindful of God’s dwelling within us and our dwelling within God? From that promise, what would it be like to take up the initiative to form and foster environments where we could dwell with one another – fully? Often, places like this aren’t in a structured environment. These places are found on the sidelines of a baseball diamond, around a bonfire, or in a break room at work. Even in the most unexpected places, we might be surprised by what we find forming within our midst.