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May 03, 2008


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Daniel J

Which is also a reflection on what is the real church, the buildings or the mission. Daniel J.


Jesus said, "I came that you might have beautiful artwork in your buildings. For the kingdom of God belongs to those in white flowing robes and dog callers."

Steve L

Dog collars, hmm, I guess a few got off their leashes over the years. Maybe in the course of the 'unpleasantness' we should remember the church survived although buildings stand empty.


To what extent do you think that the buildings have some significance, though? Certainly God says, "I demand mercy not sacrifice" and Jesus came to tear down the temple and rebuild it in three days. But God gave the plans for what the temple was too look like. And the temple was built to the glory of God. Jesus never condemned people for going to a specific building.

But the prophets did condemn people for trusting in a building for their salvation.

It seems to me that the real mission is something along the lines of: to glorify God, to share the Word, and to follow Jesus. It part of that is beautiful buildings that glorify God, then is that a problem?

For many people there is something about santifying - setting aside for a special purpose - of a building. Putting a building as the place where we gather to glorify God. It is a part (and only a part) of those things that remind us of God. God commanded His people to put reminders of His promises and His word all around us. To build a Tabernacle and a Temple that draws us to Him.

Can we do without a building? Certainly. It isn't central to our faith. But is it useful? Certainly. It helps to remind us of God and to bring us together to glorify God. To simply get rid of all material things as mere symbols or mere monuments, I think, ignores a very real part of the way God made us - where material things have meaning.


What great ideas to think about, Alex.

It seems like a bit of a moving target to me, boiling down to the extent to which we'll allow our human natures turn good things into a distraction.

The distraction of the building can be easy to spot amidst all the camera clicking tourists during mass in France, for instance, where the church buildings ooze with the potential for sacred worship. But it is also evident in a similar way with the North American modern minimalist sanctuaries that can turn into a gymnasium at the drop of a hat...that effort, if Christ centred, can be a terrific way to meet the needs of the people. But if not, it quickly becomes the newest way to pray loudly on the street corner. Whether in Europe or Alberta there's appears to be a common temptation: Come see our really great building!!

That said, I don't know if one could ever pin the blame on the building itself.


St. Polycarp, who was converted by the Apostle John, became bishop of Smyrna. He was martyred in 155. The letter to the church in Smyrna speaks of enduring suffering. The witness of a community which was willing to undergo martyrdom for the sake of Gospel has endured. There is a living and active Christian community still existing, and still enduring suffering, in the modern day city of Izmir (ancient Smyrna). Polycarp and his fellow Christians took up the challenge of the letter to the Church in Smyrna, and that is perhaps why they still have their lampstand lit...

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blank stare...

  • Copyright Rev. Joseph Walker, St Timothy's Anglican Church

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