April 7, 2020

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  in modern English this is correct, it's 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 pew cushion or 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—
suddenly makes a different kind of sense... at least for members of the church or recipients of God's acts in the context of 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. When people receive food from the church's food cupboard, or when church members minister to each other by telephone during a pandemic: This is God sending "support from Zion."

Especially in April 2020, it's as though this little verse from the psalms was just sitting there, waiting for us to read it and realize that the faith of the Hebrew Bible became the faith of Christ and his apostles, and that the apostolic faith is alive and well in these latter days. This helps us realize what today's prayers should be about:

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

1 comment:

  1. Reading into today's message from Sam, I might extend the reading reference to 1 Corinthians 12 from 1 Corinthians 3 to actually break the church down into different members of the body. That would be so "all y'all" know you are different members the Body (the church) with different talents/gifts to meet the different challenges presented by the world. Not sure if that makes any sense.

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