Tag Archives: Temple

A Place of Your Own

I always get quite cross when I see churches charging to go in them.  I appreciate that some are just going to view them as beautiful buildings, with intricate work to admire, but I want to see how people have expressed their worship and love of God – and as a matter of principle, I don’t think anyone should have to pay to visit the place where God is worshipped.

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This one was going to cost 3 Euros – we didn’t bother…

1 Kings 8:22-23, 41-43

Solomon Prays at the Temple

22 Solomon stood facing the altar with everyone standing behind him. Then he lifted his arms toward heaven 23 and prayed:

Lord God of Israel, no other god in heaven or on earth is like you!

You never forget the agreement you made with your people, and you are loyal to anyone who faithfully obeys your teachings. 

41-42 Foreigners will hear about you and your mighty power, and some of them will come to live among your people Israel. If any of them pray toward this temple, 43 listen from your home in heaven and answer their prayers. Then everyone on earth will worship you, just like your people Israel, and they will know that I have built this temple to honor you.

Solomon has brought the Sacred Chest, the Ark of God’s Covenant, to the Temple, this is now to be God’s home, his dwelling place.  He acknowledges that he was the one to do this, not his father David who wanted to, but this is no statement of pride or glory, but a prayer.  A statement of God’s great glory, remembering his loyalty to his people.

He then moves on to the purpose of the Temple.  It is not just a beautiful, majestic building, it is an earthly reminder of God and his life among his people.  A place where people can be reminded and have a place to worship God – for he is worthy of their praise.  It is a place to honour him.

Which brings me to the question, what are our church buildings for?  Places for the admiration of beautiful architecture?  Places to be kept special and “holy”?  Or places where people can encounter the God who lives among them,and who hears their prayers?  A place where everyone can be reminded of God and be able to come and worship him?  God’s home at the heart of the community?

Such things do not depend on beauty or being on the Tourist Trail.  They depend on the people of God being in that place, keeping his presence alive and maintaining a place where God can be worshipped – not just for an hour on Sundays, but in all the activities of a church in the community 24/7.

Thank you Lord,
that you are worthy
of a place of honour
and praise.

Thank you for dwelling amongst us,
that we may worship you,
that you hear our prayers
and our praise.

May we maintain a place of worship,
whatever shape that might be,
that you may be seen
in our communities,
a reminder
of your faithfulness
and your love

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Living Together

A grandiose building plan. A fabulous place to live.  Everything you could want.  And then the light dawns…

The Lord’s Message to David

King David moved into his new palace, and the Lord let his kingdom be at peace. Then one day, as David was talking with Nathan the prophet, David said, “Look around! I live in a palace made of cedar, but the sacred chest has to stay in a tent.”

Nathan replied, “The Lord is with you, so do what you want!”

That night, the Lord told Nathan to go to David and give him this message:

David, you are my servant, so listen to what I say. Why should you build a temple for me? I didn’t live in a temple when I brought my people out of Egypt, and I don’t live in one now. A tent has always been my home wherever I have gone with them. I chose leaders and told them to be like shepherds for my people Israel. But did I ever say anything to even one of them about building a cedar temple for me?

David, this is what I, the Lord All-Powerful, say to you. I brought you in from the fields where you took care of sheep, and I made you the leader of my people. Wherever you went, I helped you and destroyed your enemies right in front of your eyes. I have made you one of the most famous people in the world.

10 I have given my people Israel a land of their own where they can live in peace, and they won’t have to tremble with fear any more. Evil nations won’t bother them, as they did 11 when I let judges rule my people. And I have kept your enemies from attacking you.

Now I promise that you and your descendants will be kings. 12 I’ll choose one of your sons to be king when you reach the end of your life and are buried in the tomb of your ancestors. I’ll make him a strong ruler, 13 and no one will be able to take his kingdom away from him. He will be the one to build a temple for me. 14 I will be his father, and he will be my son.

David has a sudden attack of guilt.  He has built himself a beautiful palace.  He had gone to a lot of trouble and expense, and when he thinks about it, he feels bad that he has left God, the sacred chest, out in a tent.

But God speaks to him quite clearly.  He doesn’t want a special Temple building.  He doesn’t want a special place. He has always lived in a tent, among the people.

Whilst David’s intentions might be good, God wants to be with his people, where they are, not put away in a special place.   God wants to be one with his people, living with them, going where they go – not stuck in a building.  He was where they were, if a permanent structure was built, the people would have to come to him – a huge shift in the kind of relationship God had with his people.

Later a Temple was built, and with it a whole list of rules about how God could be accessed.  He was no longer there amongst them, but behind several walls – and it took God a long time, and Jesus, to break back out of it!

As we think of our lives, how do we want it?  Do we want God in a special place, somewhere where we have to go to him, or living with us where we are.

How are you going to make that happen in your life and your community?

Thank you Lord

that you are where I am,

you are not an aloof God,

living in a special building;

but a God who is about and about,

in all the places where your people,

everyone,

is.

Help me to remember that.

That you are in the everyday,

and not just the “special”,

and to live that way.