“The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” (Deuteronomy 33:27)
I have a couple of Russian friends in Moscow who, being my age, lived under Soviet rule for many years. They tell stories of coded telephone calls to let people know when the local priest would be coming to hold a service in secret. They witnessed the widespread closure of churches, and can remember once sacred buildings being used to store tractors.
Both are lecturers at a university in the capital, which began under Communism. ‘Lectures’ took place by night in the woods outside the city, and teaching materials were then buried during the day to avoid detection. Such was the threat of Jesus to the USSR!
When all the aids of Christianity - church buildings, services and so on - are taken from you, you are simply left with your heart, soul and mind. But worry not! Jesus commands us to “love the Lord your God” with these three things, and they are all the tools we need. As the passage above reminds us, God is our dwelling place and so we have the most magnificent place in which to sing his praises! Under us “are the everlasting arms”, so we experience the most wonderful care!
Sometimes it takes the stripping away of the familiar to reveal the care and presence of God. As long as we have our heart, soul and mind we have all that we need to meet with God.