Since steeples do not move, people might get the wrong impression about God.  As I drive around the city, I notice the steeples along the side of the road, and they draw my eyes away from the mundane, reminding me that God dwells with us.  With the coming of the Holy Spirit, we do not have to look back into history or far across geography in order to find God.  God is as close to us as the here and now, and steeples are a visible reminder of the proximity of God. 

Nevertheless, steeples might also misrepresent God because they are rooted in one place.  I have never seen a steeple move.  I have never looked up at the church with the suspicion that the steeple is two inches to the left of where it was the day before.  It is fixed, rooted in one place, which is one of the sacred blessings of a church, setting aside a place where we can meet God, remembering that God dwells with us.

Steeples remind us of God, but since they do not move, we might get the wrong impression because God does move.  The walls of a sanctuary cannot contain the presence of the Almighty.  We find the Spirit of God moving like the rushing of the wind outside the walls of the church.

I can picture a brick mason in his overalls, stains on his legs, dipping his trowel into wet cement.  He places each brick carefully.  He knows that these walls will house the sacred act of worship and prayer, but as carefully as each brick is placed, God could never be contained by bricks and mortar.  The Spirit of God transcends such boundaries, moving freely throughout all creation, so when our eyes are fixed on stationary steeples, we might get the wrong impression about where we find God.

When the inquisitive, eager, would-be follower approached Jesus walking along the road, he quickly said, "I will follow you wherever you go," but Jesus wanted to be clear about the unexpected miles ahead.  Jesus said, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head."  One reason the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head is because he travels everywhere.

God cannot be reduced to one place because God travels to every place.  The Spirit of God is at work beyond the walls of the church, and as our lives take place out there beyond those walls, we can learn to look for the work of God taking place, even in places we do not expect. 

Steeples do not move, but God does, so we might discover the compassion of God in odd places.  We would do well to notice it and to name it, for that is the only way to participate in it.  We could start to name all of the possibilities: hospital, daycare, classroom, bus station, boardroom, prison, clinic, kitchen, shelter, store, and the list continues; but as soon as we name the possibilities, we have drawn new lines that limit our view.  The list continues forever because God does not have one place.  We do well to open our eyes and our souls to what we might not expect, for the Spirit of God is at work throughout creation.

Driving around the city, we can look at the steeples for their beauty, knowing that God does dwell with us, but we must remember that even though steeples do not move, God does.  The Spirit of God is at work out there, where we can discover ways to participate in all that God is doing.  We gather at steeples not only to remember that God dwells with us, but also to know what the work of the Spirit of God looks like, so that when we are out there beyond the walls of the church, we can notice it, name it, and even participate in it.