A WORD IN PASSING - September 2023
"Who is able to build him a house, since heaven, even highest heaven, cannot contain him?"~ 2 Chronicles 2:6
Since first coming to England many years ago, one of the things I have enjoyed visiting are church buildings. Every building
has a story to tell. I find that the buildings of the church of England have fascinating background stories to them.
Wherever I go in the city or the countryside and see one I pop inside (most are open), look around and admire their distinct architecture. Many go back over a thousand years and it’s amazing how much they reveal about England’s past, with insights into lives lived over the centuries.
There’s a lot to explore and to discover. Especially with regards to how religion and politics have shaped the nation. Take, for instance the Tudors (yes, I've watched Horrible Histories!) In 1530, king Henry VIII broke away from Catholic Rome because the Pope refused to sanction his divorce from Katherine of Aragon, an act that crucially helped usher in the Reformation of English religion. He removed institutions that symbolised medieval Catholicism including the supression of many religious orders and buildings, such as monasteries and nunneries. He altered and developed old church buildings and had some new ones built to conform to the religious changes that now swept the country, culminating with his appointing himself as the supreme head of the church in England.
Today, many of those church buildings survive and remain well worth a visit. But as interesting and as grand as they may be they would surely pale into insignificance when compared to the most magnificent place of worship mentioned in the Bible - the temple king Solomon had built! Look up the description for yourself, and try to imagine how it must have looked, and what kind of impression it would have made on people! (1 Kings 6 & 7.) And yet, as glorious as it was, even king Solomon exclaimed,
“But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!"~ 1 Kings 8:27
However majestic church buildings may be, they can but point to the greatness and pervading presence of God. The God who
is not restricted to, or by, places of worship. Indeed, through the Holy Spirit God's presence can be both with us and within
us all of the time, wherever we go.
That means we ourselves can become temples of the living God, (2 Cor 6:16). But only when we ask Him into our lives. Only when we put our trust in the Lord Jesus as our Saviour and Lord, so opening the door of our hearts for the King of glory to come in (Romans 10:9-10)
Even then, we cannot contain God but He promises that He will remain in us - forever!
For more information about the Christian faith, go to www.christianity.org.uk