Sunday, August 29, 2010

Temples and Awe of the Holy Spirit

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?”

~1 Corinthians 6:19 (NIV [part]).

This verse above is set to a special context and yet its truth contains a cataclysmic theological principle—the Spirit of God cannot be housed in some temple humankind have made.

And this is the point that Stephen, Christianity’s first martyr, made in his longwinded history-lesson-of-a-speech before the Sanhedrin in Acts 7:1-53. Neither did the patriarchs worship God in one spot, nor did Moses (i.e. his meeting God at the burning bush and elsewhere), nor did Israel during the post-Exodus wanderings, and nor, finally, did the Jews worship God alone in the temple Solomon built.[1]

God is Spirit and Spirit is not containable; except, for example, as it remains within the human being. But there’s more to it.

Temples, Bodies, Anything

God is certainly using our bodies as temples for the Holy Spirit, but that’s not all. God fills the space of every thing in this world, simultaneously. This means we can be with God anywhere. The Spirit’s never absent.

And this is important, for we are so very apt at declaring our allegiances, and placing our trust, in many things other than God.

This is a problem for us in reaching our true Spirituality.

The Need of ‘Emptying’

The wisdom of God is such that to find the Spirit we must empty ourselves of these false allegiances—be they physical places, items we own, activities that consume us, and even people we look inordinately up to.

And this is truly freedom for us—the only true freedom; we are shackled to no thing if we’re in God.

This God of glory is beyond ‘the thing’—any thing—and is so indescribable and inscrutable we cannot truthfully do much else than be in sheer awe.

So, it’s in this that we reach a place of right worship. God is simply to be awed—everything else flows from the sensible cognition of this fact.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

[1] Michael Green, 30 Years That Changed the World – A Fresh Look at the Book of Acts (Leicester, England: InterVarsity Press, 1993, 2002), p. 99.

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