If I remember correctly, The Peach Pit was the favorite hang out spot of the snobby, angst-driven, bed-hopping, Beveryly Hills 90210 gang (no, this isn’t a spoiler for the new 90210 show… this is the original, back in the ’90’s, prime time teen soap–where late 20 somethings tried to pull off being rich, spoiled high school students). The gang would go hang out for fries and a milk shake, and occassionally pick up advice from Nat, the owner of the Peach Pit. Besides the beach and each other’s beds, The Peach Pit was the 90210 gang’s favorite place to hang out.
All of us have a favorite hang-out place. Mine is either my deck or our “recreation area” as my kid calls it–a place on the edge of the woods that we’ve landscaped that has a hammock, fire pit, and some tiki torches. Both a great places to sit back, listen to the tree frogs, and enjoy a great cigar or root beer.
The authors of Psalm 84 have a favorite hang out spot–wherever God is. Psalm 84 is all about hanging out with God–which, for the original readers of the psalm, would have been the tabernacle (the “mobile home” version of the temple) or the temple in Jerusalem (depending on when this was written). For the ancient Jews, the trips to Jerusalem to celebrate the feasts (Passover, Tabernacles, etc.) were a hugh highlight, because it meant coming into God’s presence (although He’s everywhere). For the authors of the psalm, there’s no place they’d rather be. Look what they write in Psalm 84:10,
For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside. I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
What about us? Would we rather stand on God’s porch in the rain, or live without remembering who He is in temporary “comfort”?
Too many of us who claim to follow Jesus have allowed our faith to be defined by meetings. Sunday morning meetings. Sunday evening meetings. For those of us who are truly religious, Wednesday evening meetings. And if we’re a super saint, we’ll add Sunday School meetings, small group meetings, various other ministry meetings. On the surface, it seems like we’re always with God… but when we define our faith by those meetings, when we’re at a certain location (the “church building”), a dangerous dichotomy forms in our life–times when we’re with God, and times when we’re not… which is impossible.
Because God is always with us.
Do we truly long for God’s presense, or are we satisfied with meetings?
If the Western church is to survive–not just thrive, but survive–then we must develop the hunger of the authors of Psalm 84. We must develop a desire to be continually in God’s presense wherever we are. That means living the Jesus life 24/7, seeing and taking advantage of opportunities to show Jesus’ love to others, and being a missionary where we live, work, and play.
Why is this so important? Because people are watching–they know when we’re being “religious” and when we’re not. Religious people look like they have a split personality–they’re different on Sundays and meeting times than they are the rest of their week. The reality is this: there is no “down time” from hanging out with God.
But more importantly, God deserves 100% commitment from us. Just because we show up to a meeting doesn’t mean our heart is committed to Him. Who we are in so-called “holy places” should be who we are all the time.