I must admit, it was an unsettling experience for me. A group of us had gone to a nearby bar after work one evening to visit with out-of-town guests before heading home. For me, personally, it is safe to enjoy an occasional drink, so that wasn’t the problem. What I found disquieting was the fact that this bar had been built 100 years earlier as a church. There we were, sipping on whatever, surrounded by stained glass windows and in full view of an altar. Now, I know and even rejoice in that Jesus’ church is not a building but a “body”—the sum total of all His believers throughout the world. So, while I grieved in earnest at the thought of a once-vibrant, now-stagnant congregation closing its doors, the repurposed use of bricks and mortar, itself, was my little cognitive-dissonance problem to get over. (“Yeah, but still.”)
Not lost on me, however, was the fact that this scenario served as a heads-up for us, the true church, for God inhabits all who believe in Christ, bypassing even the loftiest of sanctuaries to do so. “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” wrote Paul to the Corinthian Christians. Turning a church building into a bar creates its own little stir, but how deep and real the dissonance in others when we “repurpose” our bodies—these living, breathing temples of God—for anything less than His glory! People peer into us in hopes of seeing God inside to be true, so why do anything on the outside to obscure their view? Jesus has made us one with Himself in the Spirit; why then would we dishonor Him in our flesh? So, Paul continues, “You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.” For when we honor with our body the God who inhabits our soul, we open the door for all to see the vibrant church of His Son.
Father, thank you for choosing to live in me. Inspire me today, so that my outward actions flow from nothing less than your inner love and grace. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Christ in me is holiness.
See what 1 Corinthians 6:15-20 says about our oneness with Christ.
2 replies on “Inside and Out”
In some cases the “fellowship” in a bar setting is closer to God’s design for sharing than what happens when Christian meet in a church building.
Yes, just as people have met us “where we are,” so we do the same.