What does it mean to honour God today?

First, a visual feast: haunting pictures of abandoned churches. {click on this}

Most of these images show one thing: at one time, man built great edifices which shone with artistry as a way to honour God. Most of these buildings would also have cost a lot. The downside of this was many such churches often turned to the rich and influential for their support. Along the way, these austere and beautiful buildings were also often unwelcoming of those who did not feel they could fit in.

It is certainly wrong to try to honour God and fail to honour each other – who are made in God’s image.

It is easy today to poo-bah these hallowed halls of worship as ‘traditional’ and even ‘political’. We move quickly away to functional structures where the ministry can be effective with specialized halls for different ages and uses. To the degree that these changes reflect a desire of the church to connect and be useful; there is good in it.

YET – God’s magnificience and splendour is something we want to contemplate on, and communciate with the world. The sense of wonder, of the fear of God who is high and holy is lost today from our buildings to our songs and language as we lower God to our level more and more. The average worship service, and church today looks like it exist to serve us.

Did God have something in mind regarding His honour?

The mobile tabernacle for desert use, and the temple Solomon built (though one must add that his personal palace was more elaborate) were attractive architectural pieces for their time, and required sacrificial giving from God’s people. They were also places that gave them a sense of identity, belonging and which allowed them to witness to who God is. The church however, is entrusted with a universal mission. God was not calling is to reduce the sense of His greatness; but to go beyond buildings of concrete, steel and gold – to the most delicate and beautiful of all structures: the human life.

As Jesus pointed out to the Samaritan woman in John 4; God is seeking worship of Spirit and Truth. This potent combination is not mere cliche but a long-journey of being transformed so that we carry truth in our minds, words and choices. It is an ongoing commitment to be led by and live under the authority of the Holy Spirit.

Some of us would be led to make music, write, build communities and buildings, start enterprises, fight unjustice, battle poverty and slavery… and on the list goes. Each of us then is a piece of this vibrant God-honouring House that moves, shakes things up, houses lives and heals hearts.

In these days, God himself is building His house of honour; and you and I are privileged to be invited to be a part of it; wherever we are, whatever little we bring. This is glory and greatness worth contemplating and when such high thoughts fill our minds, it will show on our faces and translate into graces.

 

 

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