The reading for Sunday the 21st of August: Ephesians 2:20-22
We have now been in our house for over a third of a century, and grown to love it. Do you love this building?
Does it matter to us that we have a church?
In a sense it is not necessary, and costs time and money which could go to other things. The early church grew most before it had buildings (before 318AD).
But a building has value. It is a visible witness, reminding people of God. It enhances our worship, by the "atmosphere" of worship - we naturally think of God. We must pray always, but a special time and place help.
Because of this, Israel had a Temple. More exactly there was a tabernacle in the Exodus, before Solomon built the Temple. David was not allowed to build it as he had shed much blood. It was built with love and reverence - do we reflect that? It was then destroyed in the Exile, rebuilt on the return, prompted by the prophecy of Haggai, later developed under Herod, and destroyed again by the Romans in 70AD.
Why did God allow these things? Because the Church is now God's Temple. 1 Peter 2 tells us that Jesus is the cornerstone, Christians are living stones. So we have those functions of reminding people of God and enhancing worship. Do we know and show God's presence?
What do we do when we own a house? We look after it, and as God's house we can be sure that he cares for us. And we are particularly concerned that it will fulfil its function, so fix roof leaks etc. God is concerned that we are good servants. Maintenance may then require chopping out what is bad, which is why Jesus drove out what was rotten in the Temple - this was also stopping its functionality. Maintenance is hard work, needs zeal. In Jesus' case, his concern for us cost him his life (cf Jn 2:17).