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A thousand places

Imagine walking by a painting of Paris day by day, year by year, as it hangs on your wall. No matter the passing time the colors stay the same. The people don’t have birthdays. The seasons do not change. All you see is one timeless moment. Sometimes you pass by it, heavy with the weight of the world, and you imagine yourself walking right through the paint. You stroll carefree along the cobblestone streets, among the people with no faces or names.

On Wednesday, May 9, I walked into this hypothetical painting of Paris, my mental picture of Boston, and I won’t think of it the same way again. I walked through the narrow streets. I talked to a man named Timmy. I breathed the humid air. And I found Jesus there.

Now when I look at my picture of Boston I see him everywhere. He is telling the girl on the street that he knows her name. He’s the shoulder she rests on going home on the train. He is filling the hearts of his saints while they praise. He is holding their hands in the circles where they pray.

Worship was everywhere we went. From the North End at sunset to the Boston ballet. Church was wherever we met. From the alleys where we bowed our heads to the Sunday hotel services. Jesus was in a thousand places.

The Most High doesn’t live in temples made by human hands. As the prophet says, ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Could you build me a temple as good as that?’ asks the LORD. ‘Could you build me such a resting place?’
(Acts 7:48-49)

We cannot build him a place great enough to dwell, yet in our hearts he builds a temple. ‘Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you?’(1 Cor. 6:19) He works not with silver or gold, but by his own imperishable blood. He labors in secret and silence, where thieves cannot steal, where enemies cannot break in. Those who believe will yet see. Without from within, he is building. He is building his church in Boston, and in our hearts he is building his home.

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