Thursday, October 09, 2014

Holy of Holies

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.  In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.  And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.  Ephesians 2:19-22

In Christ, we are holier than we will ever know!

Last March when venturing through Israel, coming upon the Western Wall was quite a moving experience for me personally.  At the wall, I witnessed a reverence that I have rarely seen in my life.

This moved well beyond idolatry or the empty religious worship of a relic (although I am sure that takes place at the Western Wall). What moved me were sincere Jewish people who, standing before the wall, prayed with vigor and walked in reverence.  They really believed that this wall was their closest access to the Holy of Holies- -where, according to the Old Testament, was the very place God lived.

In Ephesians, the Apostle Paul captures this cultural reverence, and gives followers of Christ a new perspective on themselves and on the church. He allures to the very stones of the temple by saying to followers, to you and to me, that in Christ; we together make up the new dwelling of God.  In other words, God is not confined in the Holy of Holies. Every follower of Jesus is a walking, breathing Holy of Holies.

Stop and ponder this for a moment. What an inspiring perspective that reframes our lives, relationships and what takes place when the church gathers!  I love how C.S. Lewis gave voice to this perspective in The Weight of Glory: “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations -- these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit -- immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses.”

When was the last time you had the sense of sacredness when it comes to yourself, and others you are in relationship with, or your church? 

Our spouses to whom we are married: what would it look like if they are treated with the same reverence a Jew treats the Western Wall?  And our kids: how would our parenting be different if we captured this same perspective?  This Sunday, when we gather with the church, please don’t treat that experience as ordinary…come to serve…and invest in people, bringing value to them.

When we gather this Sunday, we will look at one of the most powerful, life-changing prayers in all the Bible! Read up in Ephesians 3:14-21 and come expectant!

I love being your pastor!