"So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit." Ephesians 2:19-22
Describe your church experience. Do you get that YOU are the church?
Believers in the hillside village of Musakee (in the northern part of Thailand) meet each week in a rustic open-air structure. Actually, their church is nothing more than a thatched roof held up by several wooden poles. Beneath the lean-to are rows of makeshift pews, an altar, and a cross--no plush wall-to-wall carpet or air conditioners or stained-glass windows.
Yet when Christians gather here to worship, God inhabits this place. Praises are sung, hands are lifted, Scripture is read, prayers are spoken . . . and this simple shelter is transformed into one of the most beautiful sanctuaries I've ever seen.
As the apostle Paul explains in today's Scripture passage, we are the church, "built on the foundation of Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone." And as a Christian, we are a holy temple--a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit.
So, by itself, a church facility is just a bunch of bricks and windows and doors. But add to it the real holy temple--PEOPLE--and the building becomes a church; a sanctuary inhabited by God Himself; a sacred house of worship where the Creator and the created commune.
I've decided that I'm trading in "Churchianity" for true faith in Jesus. And I want to worship the way my friends in Musakee worship. I want to pursue Christ and His transforming power.
I want to step out and put God's Word to the test in all areas of my life. So, for me, church is my training ground. I walk through the doors expecting to learn something new, to encourage others and to be encouraged. Most of all, I gather with other "holy temples," expecting to commune with my Creator.
Lord, help me to stop going through the motions of faith. Transform my heart, my worship ... and especially my church. Amen.