Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Buildings! What buildings?

Reading Luke 21:5-24 and was struck by what jesus said at the beginning: In verses 5-6 Jesus shows that when it all comes down to it God is much, much more interested in people than in buildings. Sure the Temple was built at His command and for His glory. He intended it as a place where He would be worshipped and people could gather as HIs people to offer sacrifices for sin and receive forgiveness. It was a place to unify the different tribes into one, centred on their shared belief and trust in the One True God.  But if what is going on in the building has become corrupted, if true worship is not being offered and if His Son is being rejected, then as beautiful as it is (see verse 5) God will raze it to the ground, which He did with the Temple in AD 70. Jesus has no compunction in delivering His message of judgement and impending destruction (verse 6).

It is a sobering message to us who put so much emphasis, time and energy into making our buildings so well-ordered, beautiful and well-equipped. But if what is going on inside them - or in some cases NOT going on inside them - is contrary to the will of God then, lovely and iconic as they are, God ceases to be interested in them and they can, will, and do as a result, fall into disuse and destruction. 

Think of all the church and chapel closures that have come about in the past 20 years. Some have come about for more obvious reasons like shortage of ministers, population decline or because they were simply built in the wrong places. But that does not account for the majority of them and we have to look more closely about how they were being used, what was being taught within them and whether they had compromised their faith in some way. Like the Temple Jesus was talking about, had they rejected Jesus? Had they become closed to the Spirit? Were they dishonouring God? 

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