Monday, November 05, 2007

The Gospel According to Moses: Temple

Temple, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.

I took this beauty a couple of years ago while on a mission trip in Amsterdam. This is Sint Nicolas Kerk in the city center.

This past week at h2o, we continued our series The Gospel According to Moses by looking at the Temple. During this series we have been looking at different ways ancient Israel found their Identity and defined themselves as unique people in the world, and the most important symbol of all was the Temple. The temple was believed to be the place where heaven and earth met, and the place where the God lived on the earth. The place where God's presence stayed was in this inner chamber called the Holy of the Holies. Only once per year would a single priest venture into this space. As he ventured, he would take extreme care that he did not carry in any impurity, as that would mean his death.

Jesus took this idea of the temple and redefined it for Israel. He told them that if they destroyed the temple, he would rebuild it in three days. He was talking about His body. You see, when Jesus walked the earth, it was in His body that heaven and earth met. It was in His body that the presence of the Lord dwelt on the earth.

The Bible says that He is also the cornerstone of the new temple, and that we are living stones. It's pretty amazing when you think about it. You see, when the People of God come together (living stones), they become a new kind of temple. And when we are together, united, loving each other, and caring for those who are outside our community, we become a sign of what it looks like when God's kingdom comes and his will is done on earth as it is in heaven.

In essence, we become the place where heaven and earth meet. It is no longer a building where God makes his home, but now He makes His dwelling in the community of faith. Think about it. When you gather with the people of God on Sundays it isn't the building where God makes His presence known--it's amid the people that heaven and earth meet.

Next time you go to church, think about what being the church means--it means that the presence of God richly dwells with His people on the earth, and that is simply an amazing gift!

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