I was initially surprised at this teacher’s great respect for our church building – a level of honour that not even our own congregation members hold to.
Reference: v.8 “Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them.” (TNIV Bible)
Explore: When I was a chaplain at a State Primary school I would often hold services or training programs for the children in our church building. It was directly opposite the school so this was a great opportunity for the church to literally open our doors to our community.
On one of these occasions I noticed one of the supervising teachers take his hat off when he walked through the church door. Later on he chastised a child for having their feet on the pews (something that our congregation members did ALL the time!). And then after I was finished running the service I was chatting to the teacher up the back. He assured me that he had taken his hat off when he entered, he’d told the children off when they had their feet on the seats, but apologised profusely when he realised that he was chewing gum in the church.
I was initially surprised at this teacher’s great respect for our church building – a level of honour that not even our own congregation members hold to. However, upon reflection I realised the difference. This teacher, who had had some connection with a fairly regimented church, believed he needed to act differently in a church building, as God must be more present here. Whereas our congregation, on the other hand, believed that you can connect to God any time in any place.
Application: It seems this school teacher was treating our church building a little like the Ark that the Israelites were instructed to make in Exodus. The Ark was a specially made, ornate box where God said he would be present – one special place that was more holy than any other.
Whereas Jesus taught us that we could now access God anywhere. We don’t need a special communion table, chairs pointing in a particular direction or an altar to have a place of worship. It can be anywhere and any time.
Prayer: Lord, may I not save my worship times just for when I’m in a church building, but connect with you every day. Amen.
What traditions does your church community still follow that may not be completely necessary to connect with God?
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This article was written by Linda Bailey
Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.