Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
This text simply means, "I will have a home in the house of the Lord forever." Whatever temple or church or chapel stands to us for a centre or rallying place of our religions belief and life, we should cherish it as a sort of other home. Churches stand for the common brotherhood of all, and for kindness and helpfulness to all. What should be our relation to these Churches? A home that all value. We know what that means. We don't sit there all our time, but from thence we go forth to toil and struggle in the world. Then we return for life's innermost peace and friendliness, reposefulness, and renewal. Just so it is when we make the Church into a home — a "dwelling place," to use the Psalmist's words. Thither we go for the inspiration, fellowship, and renewal of that deeper life in us; thither we go as children gathering about the feet of the Great Father, to feel His presence and to feel it altogether, and thence we go forth to do our busiest and highest part in the world. That is the use of the Church. Not to be always in it. That was the old monkish idea. They desired to make it a permanent sacred enclosure, where God's saints might live out of the common world and so keep pure amid never-ceasing worship, or as nearly so as might be. But Christ teaches us a nobler idea, the idea of home and of active life in the world, and doing its work and busy in its interests; and religion, with a constant spirit setting up this other home of prayer and worship where we feel together peace, rest, refreshment, a common fellowship to the infinite life, and brotherhood to each other. So we renew life at the best part of it. Is it not true that the busier one's life and the more even its resting times are crowded with great interests, attractions, and engagements, the more is it necessary, in order to give the deeper, inner life a chance, to make a definite time and place for its development among life's regular engagements and duties? That is what you do by setting yourselves to have a church home. Some people do not know what pleasure there is even in the mere joining with others in the church. It may not be much they may be able to do or to give, but their sympathy, their encouragement openly declared, towards those who are struggling to keep some little church home going, is in itself a help. Anyone who thus joins in that fellowship of religious life gives a certain added strength and cheer to the whole body. Everyone who thus says to some little group of worshippers, "I am not much, but such as I am I am with you," helps them more than can be figured in any statistics. Himself! — That is the help I plead for, the help to oneself and the help to one's fellow creatures. Life needs this closer cohesion in its great thoughts and aims, this quiet home coming, as it were, of the single worshipper, this sense of having an anchorage in the midst of the wide, rushing stream of life.
Parallel VersesKJV: Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.