November 3, 2021

The Temple of God

Through those who are near me I will show myself holy, and before all the people I will be glorified.
Leviticus 10:3
When the Bible says those who are near me, it might be referring to any individual among many, or exclusively to the many without reference to individuals. It's interesting, though, that we almost always choose to interpret it as the former and never the latter. 

We don't have that option in every instance, however. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul tells the church something that we always get wrong. When he says, You are God's temple, we pretend he's talking to each one of us as individuals. But that's an impossible translation. There's a singular you in Greek and a plural you, and the two are not used interchangeably. It's just like in King James English: Ye are the temple of God. When we read that, we know Paul is speaking to more than one person. And we also know that each of the persons he's talking to are not a temple on their own—otherwise, he'd have said, Ye are the temples of God.

Sometimes it's good news not to have to hear a promise as thought it is spoken to each of us as individuals. When we hear that we—the church—are God's temple, and it's in us that the Spirit is present, we can remember that we are not alone. We are in this together, and when I am weak, I have someone else's support. By the same token, when they are weak, they can count on our support. 

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?
 1 Corinthians 3:16
Prayer after thinking about today's devotion:
Thank you, God, for your Spirit. Thank you that your Spirit dwells in us as a community. And thank you that we, the body of Christ, are the presence of your Son in the world. Help us, therefore, to be Christlike in all our speech and action.
✙ 
After your own thanksgivings & petitions, close with the Lord's Prayer.
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