Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you. Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. - Psalm 84:4-5
There are two kinds of people in the world: travelers and homebodies. Those who are always off in search of something new, and those who invest in their own hospitable dwelling. Innovators and nest-makers. You know who you are.
The same could be said of the Church. There are people—and whole congregations—whose gift is to create welcoming and cozy communities in which people can rest, and work, and pray. There are people—and whole congregations—whose gift is to venture out, beyond the confines of buildings and tradition, to explore new possibilities of faith.
Sometimes these two groups see themselves in opposition to one another. The homebodies scoff at the unorthodox ideas of the travelers. The innovators sneer at the nest-makers' investment in institutions. Both have been heard to say the others are not "real" Christians.
Psalm 84 settles the score. The ones who stay home to sing God's praises all day? They're blessed. The ones who call on God's strength to set out for points unknown? They're blessed too. And perhaps the two need one another.
Most travelers first heard God's call in community. And every house of the Lord was founded by someone who ventured out in faith.
There are two kinds of people in the world: those who are blessed and those who are also blessed. May the Church remember.
You who founded an institution on the rock of Peter and you who promised a transformation so radical that not one stone would be left on another: bless us.
Vince Amlin is co-pastor of Bethany UCC, Chicago, and co-planter of Gilead Church Chicago, forming now.