christ

If we are saved by grace alone, this salvation is a constant source of amazed delight. Nothing is mundane or matter-of-fact about our lives. It is a miracle we are Christians, and the Gospel, which creates bold humility, should give us a far deeper sense of humor and joy. We don’t take ourselves seriously, and we are full of hope for the world.
—  Tim Keller

The Temple

Words by Johanna Loh

“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?” - 1 Corinthians 3:16

We think of a temple as a holy place, a sacred place. To many of us, “holiness” brings about connotations that seem very alien to us. Many things we are not; standards that seem virtually impossible to attain. The concept of holiness often conjures up the all too familiar stereotypes of a nun who has devoted her life to the service of God, or that of a righteous priest who seemingly can do no wrong. We often feel unworthy to worship because of our sins, flaws and failures. How then, we ask ourselves, could we even find ourselves within a temple? How could we even be a temple?

Yet it says in 1 Corinthians, you are God’s temple. And God’s spirit dwells in you.

That is how much God entrusts himself to us humans. We who are fickle-minded, who in the space of a minute can tell him we love Him and then turn to a habit or action that grieves him. God knows our uncertainties, our dark sides, our waywardness. But still he clearly chooses to make us his temple. The Spirit doesn’t just visit; he doesn’t come and go. He makes us his home, and chooses to stay in our hearts. That’s huge. It is a colossal truth to take in, that God would deign to dwell in us, and live in us, thereby making us a place to worship him.

Ultimately, a temple is a place of worship. A place where people come to seek God. And no temple is complete without an altar, the centre of sacrifice. However, what kind of worship are we giving to God?

We can worship, but we can forget the altar. The reason for the worship in the first place.  We forget about true sacrifice, and focusing on God. Even as Christians, we have an inbuilt tendency to worship other things. We worship our ministry. We worship productivity and the number of souls we are saving. We worship how good the church music sounds. We worship ourselves, sacrificing to the little altars that we have created for the things that seem important to us.  It is only a natural progression that God eventually gets lost somewhere in the middle of it all. The true altar of our spirits – God’s altar, becomes dusty and neglected.

In McLaren’s Expositions regarding this concept, he states, “There never was anything done in this world worth doing, and there never will be till the end of time, of which sacrifice is not the centre and inspiration. And the difference between all other and lesser nobilities of life, and the supreme beauty of a true Christian life is that the sacrifice of the Christian is properly a sacrifice-that is, an offering to God, done for the sake of the great love wherewith He has loved us.”

God making us his temple is one of the most beautiful mysteries of his love for us.

It comes back to the idea that we need to keep the main thing, the main thing.

God.

Without us doing whatever we do for Him, every sacrifice made would be worthless. It would be empty. Oh, your ministry could be effective. You might achieve every single goal we set. You might the most technically gifted musician, or the ever-efficient and reliable administrator. But all these jobs, no matter how excellently done, count for nothing if we do not offer them as sacrifices of love to God.

God making us his temple is one of the most beautiful mysteries of his love for us. We have the privilege to freely worship him, as we ourselves are places of worship ordained by Him. Yet, are we truly giving him our best? Are we sacrificing at the right altar? Are we tending our temples out of love for God or taking pride in our own abilities?

I know I have had countless moments where I’ve lost track in taking care of God’s temple. There have been times when I started doing the right things for the wrong reasons. There also have been moments where I’ve just done the wrong things. But by God’s love and faithfulness, he has always stood by his promise in 1 Corinthians 3:16, and I don’t want to neglect the privilege I have in him of being his temple. Let’s do our best to always make sure that we are worshiping God in the best way we can through his temple – us.

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Beautiful rendition of the Paschal Troparion in Arabic.

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I think about a couple of weeks back I was talking with @blueregina06 about Kuroo carrying a sleeping Bokuto and I’m pretty sure her idea was a bit less idiotic but the stupid caught me once again, I’m sorry, my bokuro don’t know how to be serious people

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A few snaps from the Paschal liturgy in Portsmouth.
1) Fr Simon explains the structure to the people
2) the resurrection narrative led by myself, with Fr Simon in the altar.
3) The procession around the church (7 fold, though only 3 around the church itself.)
4) Fr Simon reads the sermon
5) after communion and the concluding rites, some of the Eritreans in the community (about 15 families) led the people in some traditional Tewahedo
mezmurs.
6) Fr Simon chilling out afterwards.

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Truly dramatic