WE ARE THE TEMPLE OF GOD
The focus scripture for our meditation is 1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23…
According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building on it. Each builder must choose with care how to build on it. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ. Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. Do not deceive yourselves. If you think that you are wise in this age, you should become fools so that you may become wise. For the wisdon of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” and again, “The LORD knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” So let no one boast about human leaders. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future–all belong to you, and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God. (NRSV)
As your body is the Temple of God, you must respect it, less you desecrate or destroy God’s Temple. We ought to care for our bodies with healthy choices and habits. We can get good excersize, eat healthy, and get some rest from time to time. We may also harm God’s Temple with intaking too many saturated fats, or gallons of high-fructose corn syrup, or through alcohol and/or drug abuse. We may choose to be too slothful. We may even poison our minds with what we spend our time looking at. Self-care is important. Be sure to make time for fun so that you may keep the depression away. However, The Temple of God is not just a personal matter.
As God created all of us, indeed God dwells within every individual. As Christians, Jesus the Christ specifically dwells within us and is connected to God. Thus, we are connected to God. For Christians, this state of interbeing is called the BODY OF CHRIST. In addition, those who are not Christians are still creations of God and are connected to us from our common origin. To further explain the concept of interbeing, we may take a look at an excerpt from a beautiful book, Peace Is Every Step, by Thich Nhat Hanh. This excerpt, found on page 95, states:
If you are a poet, you will clearly see there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper. Without a cloud, there will be no rain; without rain, the trees cannot grow; and without trees, we cannot make paper. The cloud is essential for the paper to exist. If we can say that the cloud and the paper inter-are. ‘Interbeing’ is a word that is not in the dictionary yet, but if we combine the prefix ‘inter-’ with the berb ‘to be,’ we have a new verb, inter-be.
If we look into this sheet of paper even more deeply, we can see the sunshine in it. Without sunshine, the forest cannot grow. In fact, nothing can grow without sunshine. And so, we know that the sunshine is also in this sheet of paper. The paper and the sunshine inter-are. and if we continue to look, we can see the logger who cut the tree and brought it to the mill to be transformed into paper. And we see wheat. We know that the logger cannot exist without his daily bread, and therefore the wheat that became his bread is also in this sheet of paper. The logger’s father and mother are in it too. When we look in this way, we see that without all of these things, this sheet of paper cannot exist.” Likewise, when our human condition is understood in a state of interbeing, when we destroy, abuse, or insult another, we do so to the Temple of God and ultimately ourselves as well. All people are connected to our Creator, each other, and our environment. Take a look at verse 17: “If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.” Do not forget that others are The Temple of God as well. When we hurt each other and/or our environment, we ultimately hurt ourselves. Hurting one another and our environment, which is God’s sanctuary, is not the way of God’s Kingdom. But that is the way of the World.
The World is full of divisive forces that drive people apart. The World’s ways include hierarchy (the understanding of a person or some people’s superiority over others). Hierarchy can lead to such realities as slavery, racism, extreme nationalism (fear/hatred of other nations)and war, sexism, homophobia, imprisonment, domestic violence, human traffiking, and even workplace harassment. In the United States, we recently witnessed our president, who exhibited great compassion in his lifetime, ultimately receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Nevertheless, within weeks of receiving this prestigious award, this man called upon the United States military to escalate a violent conflict in Afghanistan. The ways of the world called President Obama to this decision. The world calls for violence, redemptive violence, the continuation of the cycle of violence, and honoring those who engage in violence. But God’s ways are love, compassion, justice, forgiveness, reconciliation, restoration, rejoicing, and ultimately interbeing. The world’s wisdom is God’s foolishness.
We are the Body of Christ. All are the Temple of God. The Body of Christ is called to lead the whole Temple of God to salvation through Jesus Christ; that is, Jesus’ teachings of God’s Kingdom that lead us to interbeing.
Remember those beautiful words found in John 3:16-17…For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.