Reading through the Bible together

Sunday, October 20, 2013

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Perhaps nothing arouses the anger of a people as much as abuse of their God, and desecration of their place of worship.  About 150 years before Christ, Antiochus Epiphanes stormed Jerusalem and angered the Jews by sacrificing a pig in the Most Holy Place. Hindus, Muslims, and Christians fight over destroyed and defiled temples, mosques, and churches.

This prayer was uttered by one who decried the desecration of the Temple.  Enemies of God had invaded the Holy Places, smashed through the carved paneling, and burned the sanctuary to the ground (verses 4-8), defiling the place where God’s Name dwelled.

But the ‘enemy’ is not always outside the church.  We each have somewhat different views on how to treat God’s sanctuary.  We differ on what desecrates a church.  Should we remove our shoes? Should we cover our heads?  This is not an easy matter to resolve, because the very thing that aids one person in worship may hinder another.

The place of worship is holy ground and must be kept as clean and tidy as possible.  Any neglect to keep the church in the best of repair is irreverence. No culture can excuse this.  However, the use of shoes and head-covering is cultural.  In some cultures removal or use would be irreverent.  The goal is to create as reverent an environment for worship as possible.

Gordon Christo
Secretary, Southern Asia Division