Monday, April 8

Y'All Are God's Temple

In 1 Corinthians 3:16, Paul tells the church that we are God's temple. It's easily misunderstood in contemporary translations, because it's rendered, "You are God's temple." Though this is correct, modern English is so unclear on this point that most dialects (most American dialects, anyway) have found ways around what was easy to say four or more centuries ago: Y'all are God's temple. You'uns are God's temple. Youse are God's temple. You guys are God's temple. Or, as the King James Bible puts it, Ye are God's temple. Alone, I'm just a brick in the wall or a floorboard... or a sewer pipe. But put me together with all the other members of the body of Christ, and we're God's temple.

And so the supernatural help that David might have expected from the prayer in Psalm 20:2—
may he send you help from the sanctuary, and give you support from Zion—
is more mundane in these days... at least for members of the church or recipients of God's acts through the church. For to be rescued from the temple (the sanctuary) or supported from Zion is simply to be helped by the church—not a building, but a people.

Pastors experience this in amazing, albeit perfectly explicable, ways. When I left Alabama, I had some very kind church members work very hard to help me pack my moving van. Having arrived in Chardon, I have some equally kind church members to help me unpack and set up. It's as though this little verse from the psalm was just sitting there, waiting for me to read it and realize that the faith of the Hebrew Bible became the faith of the apostles, and that the faith of the apostles is alive and well in these latter days. This helps me realize what today's prayers should be about:

Send me help from Zion, O God. And help me to see how this prayer has already been answered again and again in my life when I remember who Zion is. Grant me grace to be part of your temple in this world, that I may not only receive, but give the support you promise to those who call on your Name in sincerity. I ask this in Jesus' Name, who taught me to pray: Our Father...

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