Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran. When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. There above it stood the LORD, and he said: “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.” Genesis 28.10-17.
This is not one of my daily random texts. It is the Scripture that God brought to my mind as I crossed the road near our home yesterday and looked up at the scaffolding on our church spire. And as I remembered those words, “This is the house of God; this is the gate of heaven”, I felt I heard God saying to me: “That is as true of St James as it is of Bethel. Start to believe it“. I’ll believe it of my church this morning; will you believe it of yours too? I know we can meet God anywhere and that he can meet us anywhere, but perhaps there are “thin” places on earth and maybe our churches are some of them.