Dear Friends June: The Temple


“But now the Lord my God has given me rest on every side; there is neither adversary nor misfortune. So I intend to build a house for the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord said to my father David, ‘Your son, whom I will set on your throne in your place, shall build the house for my name.’”
1 King 5:4-5
Dear Friends

According to the bible king Solomon’s temple took 7 years to build and involved thousands of labourers. Up to that point worship of god in ancient Israel had been in a tabernacle or tent. Which makes All Saints’ brief time meeting in the parish centre seem very civilised!


There are elements of the temple that we might recognise in our own church buildings.



Outside there was an Altar, and with it a ‘sea’ 15ft in diameter in which the priests washed themselves, just as we are all washed in baptism. Inside in the sanctuary the bread of the presence was kept, just as we reserve consecrated bread as a focus of prayer and for communion of the sick. Here too in the sanctuary was an altar to burn incense, also a part of our worship today.

In the holy of holies beyond the sanctuary there was the ark which contained the first scroll of the law, a jar of manna which had fed the Israelites in the wilderness, and Aaron’s priestly rod. Christians have seen all these items as pointing towards Jesus, who is the living word, the bread of heaven, and our great high priest. And so in Christian thought Mary has been seen as the ark of the new covenant, so she too has an important place in our churches.

This brings us to what is so different about our worship to Solomon’s temple. In the old covenant only the high priest would enter the holy of holies to make a blood offering. Now through sharing in Holy Communion we not only enter the holy of holies, but all become living arks carrying Jesus out into the world, just as Mary did.

Reading the book of Revelation we find a heavenly temple greater than Solomon’s. The signs and symbols of Solomon’s temple are seen in John’s vision of heavenly worship, but all together in one sacred space. It has to be said that many church buildings built through the centuries have tended towards the shape of Solomon’s temple with its exclusive areas, rather than the open temple found in heaven!

It is my hope and prayer that as we return to our historic building for worship that we seek to shape the building around heavenly worship. Maintaining the richness of sign, symbol and sacrament, that are not only part of All Saints’ tradition but rooted in scripture, and doing so in a way that is open and inclusive to all.

God bless,

Eddie





Popular posts from this blog

All Saints Christmas Market