Monday, it was the Baptist guy who knew the ‘church-speak’ but who’s now figured out he didn’t know Jesus at all. Yesterday, it was the guy whose wife was kicked out of her Catholic family because she married him… a Protestant.
Growing up and living in a “Christian” country, how do we get so screwed up?
I think it’s because we’ve forgotten the main thing. We’ve let “church” take the place of God. And we’ve neglected, or maybe never understood the “Holy of Holies.”
On the first Easter, that was the place in the center of the temple where man connected with God. Where God was present. Where prayer was intimate. Where relationship was real-time. In Old Testament parlance, only the High Priest could go in and hang out with God and it was only once a year. The “Holy of Holies” was so sacred, they tied a rope to his leg so he could be dragged out if he died, it was that holy!
Outside this space was the temple…the “church” if you will. All God’s children (the Jews) could go there to worship, make sacrifices, give offerings, and hear the Scriptures read & taught. Outside the temple was the courtyard where anyone could go. That’s where the merchants were when Jesus turned over their tables and kicked them out.
The ‘main thing’ for us is that central place. That “holy of holies” where we meet with, talk to, and are personally loved by our Heavenly Father. Remember at the moment Jesus died, the veil that enclosed the “Holy of Holies” was opened up? Ripped in two. And it ripped from above, from top to bottom, as by God Himself, not by men who could have torn it from bottom to top. It was God, inviting ALL OF US in. Through Christ’s death, we are all made equally holy. Jesus’ death gave each of us access into the “Holy of Holies.” Same as the most holy man anywhere. No one can take away that unfettered access, that 24/7/365 availability, that unconditional, unwavering love for the Christ-follower. It’s personal, alive, interactive, and real.
The ‘temple’ represents my church. Or your church. It’s where like-minded people gather to worship. It’s where Christ-followers are connected by their love of Jesus and their responsibility to love and serve each other. It may be important, but it’s not the main thing.
The outer courtyard represents the rest of the world. The place we go to live, work and relate after we’ve connected with God in the ‘Holy of Holies.’ And after we’ve done ‘church.’
The main thing is to grasp and enjoy that continuous fellowship with the Father. That’s what He created us for. The church we attend, the ‘religious tradition’ we were raised in, even the faith we want our children to have, all that’s secondary to connecting with God in a personal way through Jesus.
That’s the main thing.
Question: Have you let ‘church’ become the main thing? Do you have the guts to move church to second place and make the Father first? Share your thoughts here.
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