“The Presence” is a reflection on God’s dwelling among his people down the ages, and upon how, wherever he truly is might be regarded as a “temple”. John’s Gospel records Jesus referring to his own body as the temple. It was only through the destruction of that “temple”, and its being raised up after three days, that the dark powers of this world could be brought down.
The chains keeping us bound to those powers and to their dehumanising influences have been broken, and so we, as we respond to him, find ourselves becoming “temples”; God chooses to dwell in our own lives. It is when we turn our faces towards him in thankful praise and true worship (as would be appropriate in a temple of God) that “the blessing”, once given to the Israelites in the wilderness, becomes for us a healing, present reality.
Where Presence filled each sight and sound
With harmony and life,
And one who, fashioned from the ground,
Delighted in his wife;
Where grace and kindness filled their days
And joy was in the air,
As all creation joined in praise
To Him who’d set it there.
To Him, who walked the very space,
Who knew and loved his own,
Where they could gaze upon his face
And wouldn’t feel alone.
The One who spoke as loving friend,
Who shared his perfect will,
Was pleased to dwell where all was well
And everything was still.
Then all was lost to pride and death
And sickness, lies and shame;
The very ones he’d given breath
Now trembled at his name.
And fear and hate and hate and fear
Would hold the nations bound
To lifeless idols, sword and spear,
And blood upon the ground.
If love with love could be revealed
And life with life remade,
And broken, hurting souls be healed
Because a debt was paid;
And those forgiven could forgive,
And angry hearts could mourn,
And if the dead began to live
Because a veil was torn –
The Presence on an ancient hill,
Beaten, nailed and speared –
But stubborn will rejects him still,
And sneers as once they sneered.
The Presence, whose ways and thoughts
Lift bitterness and care:
Better one day in his courts
Than a thousand spent elsewhere.