Temples or Tents?

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;                                                                                                            I Corinthians 6:19

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.                                                                                                                  II Corinthians 5:1

What is the best way to honor God as a Christian community? Is it better to build a temple or a tent?

Interesting that when God was trying to manifest himself to the ancient world, he told the Israelites to build a temple. That temple would be a manifestation of the presence of God on earth. The Israelites of old were the carriers of the “God message” to a heathen world. That is, there is one God, and he is to be worshipped above the many false gods that were around. The Israelites were to be witnesses of the True God to world lost in idolatry.  However, when Jesus came to earth, he was the fulfillment of that promise- God was now literally present on earth.

It seems that we are drawn to building temples. When Jesus was manifested in glory at the Transfiguration, Peter wanted to immediately build three memorials on the mountain- one to Jesus, one to Moses, and one to Elijah. Peter was overcome with awe and his first reaction was to build a memorial.

Nice thought, but Jesus wanted a more flexible witness. He planned to send his Holy Spirit into the world to invade the hearts of people. The memorial would not be bricks and mortar, but our bodies to serve as the temples of the Holy Spirit.

Paul called our bodies mere tents which house our Spirit. I am thinking that the best response to proclaiming God to a fallen world is pitching our tents where people are- not building temples that people must try to find.

Prayer: Lord, help us to be flexible witnesses, tents where you can dwell and be seen by others, Amen

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