2 Samuel 7:1-7, “Now it came about when the king lived in his house, and the LORD had given him rest on every side from all his enemies, that the king said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells within tent curtains.” Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that is in your mind, for the LORD is with you.”
“But in the same night the word of the LORD came to Nathan, saying, “Go and say to My servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD, “Are you the one who should build Me a house to dwell in? For I have not dwelt in a house since the day I brought up the sons of Israel from Egypt, even to this day; but I have been moving about in a tent, even in a tabernacle. Wherever I have gone with all the sons of Israel, did I speak a word with one of the tribes of Israel, which I commanded to shepherd My people Israel, saying, ‘Why have you not built Me a house of cedar?'”
Acts 5:12, “At the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were taking place among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s portico.”
The Church Survives Without the Building
On Christmas day, 1983, an uncontrollable blaze destroyed a majestic, old German church. It was built in A.D. 1140, when Florence and northern Italy flourished under the Medicis; when humanists reaped a renaissance in ancient manuscripts from Constantinople; twelve years before da Vinci was born, 35 years before Michelangelo; and 52 before Savanorola. Authorities determined that a Christmas tree, traditionally lighted with candles, must have started the blaze. Hundreds of worshippers had attended services there just hours before the destruction.
Though the church building perished, God’s church survived. After all, a church building provides a meeting place – not meaning – for Christians. Their relationship with Christ, not with a structure, gives them identity and defines their mission. That is why the trappings of Christianity (religion) may perish: by fire, theft, flood, or old age, but the Church survives. All outward signs of God’s kingdom can fail – buildings, hospitals, schools, mission stations – but Christianity goes on going on. The Holy Spirit within empowers God’s people, and that can never be destroyed!
Courtesy of Speaker’s Sourcebook of New Illustrations by Virgil Hurley copyright © 1995 by Word, Incorporated. Used by permission.
*Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
The Church is not a gallery for the exhibition of eminent Christians, but a school for the education of imperfect ones. – Beecher
The living Church, though never neat, keeps God’s world from complete disaster.
Unless there are people who are responding to the love of God as revealed in Christ and so are worshipping Him, the Church is not very important. – Blake
We don’t go to church; we are the church. – Southcott