A Contrast In Temples

From Pastor Todd’s Weekly Email . . . 

Some Old Testament scholars point out the disappointment the Jewish people experienced when comparing the “Second Temple” with the “First Temple.” I remember buying my first Mustang. Red. 1964 1/2. Mustang enthusiasts understand the significance of a ’64 1/2. I drove it from Texas to Frederick, Oklahoma. I had been invited to preach a revival just outside of Frederick.

My car was parked outside of the local associational office. I would meet the pastor there. While we were sitting inside we heard a loud crash. Yes, someone backed into my Mustang. My red ’64 1/2 Mustang. The door was crushed. So was I. The offender did not leave insurance information. He or she just drove off. My friend Wally offered to fix the car. Once finished, it was just not the same. Oh, I still like my car. But I knew it was not what it once was – blemished.

We all make comparisons. And, while my Mustang was certainly not my temple, it represents for me a way to connect the disappointment felt when the vision you once had is replaced by one that just seems to come up short. Think first Temple that Solomon and second Temple built under the influence of a foreign power. Our text from 2 Samuel narrates the origins of the First Temple. In that short space we read God telling Samuel that he has been perfectly content to roam with the people and live in a tent.

The Temple was built and the mindset changed. God could be housed. Consider John 4 and the conversation Jesus had at The Well. “Where is the proper place to worship?,” Jesus was asked. It is not a stretch to read Jesus saying – “everywhere” is a good place to worship. Housing God in a Temple seemed to have the physical effect of limiting his influence.

Turning the pages of the Scriptures we read Mary’s “canticle.” Now aware of the activity of God in and through her she sings. Jesus will comes via a human tent or temple. He will inhabit one of those tents himself. Mary could not contain Jesus. Neither could a Temple. Today Jesus cannot be contained in a building – no matter how fancy. Any attempts we make to portray Jesus – or for that matter God who is Father, Son, Spirit – is as humorous and ridiculous as David wanted to house God in a Temple made with human hands.

Jesus’ coming through Mary reminds us, at the least, God values human beings and prefers them to buildings. Not a bad way for us to think about the way we go about living in our world today. Maybe we should value human beings more than, say, whatever we build.

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Jesus invites people into his life and his way. He takes what is and points to the new way of the Kingdom of God.  Come see what this journey is all about!

One way to think about the mission of Jesus - He calls into question the way things are and points to the way things may be in the Kingdom of God. 

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