Going Deeper 03.05.2021

The Gospel reading for Lent 3... John 2:13-22

The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” The Jews then said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking of the temple of his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.

Unlike the other three "synoptic" Gospels, John places the story of Jesus' clearing out of the temple near the beginning of His works and teachings.  Over the many following generations, a great deal has been written about what is going on here... some valid, some a bit of a reach.  I would encourage us to consider a contemporary application: What is the purpose of our physical church buildings?

A short and simple-- but at the same time very important-- answer is that our facilities are to facilitate our mission and ministries.   Yes, part of that might include creating space which both glorifies God and inspires our worship, but the challenge is to avoid creating edifices which glorify us and seek to inspire our worship of the building itself.  This can be a difficult challenge.

At Zion, we have been blessed with a unique sanctuary, one which many find to be an important link to their past.  At the same time, others see it as outdated and somewhat unappealing to contemporary tastes.  As we continue to discuss potential changes and adaptations it will be vital that we all remember the bottom line: our facilities must facilitate our mission and ministries.  Our own tastes and opinions are important, and we must seek to create and maintain an atmosphere where all are heard and considered.  But at the same time, we all need to try our best to make decisions based on what enables us to be most effective in what God has called, is calling, and will continue to call us to do... to worship Him and serve His children of every generation.

With You in His Mission,

Mark Gabbert, Pastor

Zion Lutheran Church, Wellington

"Gratefully Growing Servants"