Not Bricks and Mortar, but Flesh and Blood   6 comments


By Tom Vander Well

Exalt the Lord our God,

    and worship at his holy mountain in Jerusalem,

    for the Lord our God is holy! Psalm 99:9 (NLT)

I have a bit of a rebellious streak in me. I quickly get irritated by senseless rules and misplaced religious orthodoxy. We as humans tend to want to wrap rules around principles and attach sacred  meaning to silly things. I remember a crotchety old fart who got mad at me for letting children run and play in the church sanctuary instead of getting mad and giving them a stern rebuke. In his mind the kids were desecrating the holiness of the room. I told him that the sanctuary was nothing more than a gathering place (adding that I’d be happy to prove the point scripturally) and the sound of children laughing, running and playing where we met to worship was music to my ears. If there are a lot of kids having fun in the place the church just might have a future.

He didn’t like me very much.

In the ancient days when the psalms were written, there was central place where God was to be worshipped in Jerusalem at the temple. One of the things I love most about Jesus  is that he blew away old rules and established radical new paradigms. When a woman asked Jesus about worshipping in Jerusalem, Jesus said, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem….But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”

In the new paradigm that Jesus ushered in, those who believe are indwelt by God’s Holy Spirit and we ourselves become God’s temple. We don’t go to some church building that is somehow special, holy and sacred – we ourselves – our bodies – are the temple. We are made special, holy and sacred by God.  We don’t go to church. We are the church. It’s not bricks and mortar. It’s flesh and blood. Every time I hear a pastor telling me to invite my friends to church I shake my head and groan. Jesus’ intention was never for believers to bring friends to a central location to worship Him. His intention was that believers would worship Him by spreading out into every neighborhood and loving people.

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Posted August 9, 2013 by Tim Shey in Uncategorized

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6 responses to “Not Bricks and Mortar, but Flesh and Blood

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  1. I appreciate your candor on the subject. I need more details on exactly how this occurred. Was this a morning service on Sunday? Evening? Mid-Week?

    I would say this is a subject we will disagree on but after raising three children (2 boys and 1 girl) my children were taught that the sanctuary was a place of quietness to go before God. There are hallways, classrooms, etc. for other activities.

  2. JD: I didn’t write this post. You may want to post your comment on Tom Vander Well’s blog, Wayfarer:

  3. Hi Tim. I picked you up in Shoshone, drove you to Richfield and dropped you off at the library. Was going to come back and talk to you at the library, but saw my aunt and had to chat with her and the library staff. I looked you up and saw that you went to Iowa State. My printmaking instructor, George Roberts, from Boise State, went there. He always spoke highly of his professor at Iowa State, that he was a brilliant mentor. I hope I’m remembering that right. Safe travels…hope you made it to Carey to camp. Carey is a good place to rest.

  4. Raylene: Thanks again for the ride to Richfield. I got a ride to Arco and then another ride to Idaho Falls. I camped out in Idaho Falls last night. Right now I am in West Yellowstone, Montana. Take care.

  5. Great post!
    Tim, I’m concerned that your posts are not appearing in my reader 😦 Why would that be?

  6. My posts have been blacklisted from the Reader by WordPress for quite some time—maybe since the beginning of this year. Maybe the message in some of my posts is too radical for some people.

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