Friday, June 3, 2011

Churches Aren't Buildings

The Transfiguration
Jesus climbed a mountain with Peter, James, and John.  As they were at the summit, Jesus' appearance change into dazzling appearance.  The radiance of heaven was all about.  Moses and Elijah also appeared with Jesus.

The three disciples were astounded.  They had seen the glory of the Lord!  They had laid eyes on Moses and Elijah!  But Peter, James, and John wanted to do what any good Episcopalian would want to do:

"Let's build a church!"


Now, of course they didn't build anything on that mountaintop.  Jesus didn't put down roots, he moved on.  Our Lord was a nomad.  He told his disciples to follow him, he didn't tell them to build churches.

Over the past 20 centuries, the Church has forgotten this message.  Groups of Jesus' followers have had profound spiritual experiences in one place or another; so they felt compelled to put down roots.  They built quaint churches and grandiose cathedrals. 

Sadly, brick and mortar soon replaced the glory of God.  The beauty of stained glass drew our attention away from the true beauty of the Transfiguration.  Magnificent pipe organs proved to be poor substitutes for hopes of the heavenly chorus.  Then when the community of followers feels called to move, to be nomadic as our Lord was, they are stuck with costly buildings and structures that prove to be a burden rather than a blessing. 

We worship in spirit and in truth, not in quaint churches or grandiose cathedrals.  We follow Jesus, wherever that may take us.  On your journey with Jesus, pack a tent - and leave the architects behind.

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