A Diverse Temple
Ephesians 2:21 In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; 22 in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.
In the past God had inhabited his temple in Jerusalem. He was there among the Israelites, but when Christ came and died on the cross everything changed. The kingdom of God had come to the earth and no longer was God to dwell in the temple made by human hands, but through the Spirit, to live within his people.
The beauty of this new temple was that it was made up of lovely and diverse members. On the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out the many nations of the world heard the word, responded and their lives were transformed. Now, the Apostle Paul was affirming the way in which the entire structure of the new and living temple, the “already” of the kingdom of God was being built and held together in the world.
We are to be a continual and on-going reflection of that new temple. The beauty of the kingdom is the diversity. Our churches our places of worship should also be filled with the diversity of the kingdom. The kingdom makes us new citizens in God’s kingdom which is counter-cultural to the world and unites us together as brothers and sisters. We should not be seeking places to worship which make us comfortable with our own personal culture. We experience the already of the kingdom when we are a diverse temple. This is heaven on earth, when the kingdom breaks in and breaks down our normal human barriers and unites us in culture, language, customs and traditions and we are knit together “into a holy temple in the Lord.”
God’s people are encouraged to embrace diversity in the kingdom for here we experience a bit of heaven on earth. Fear is but a barrier that keeps us from enjoying all that God would have for his children. The people of Ephesus and the known world of Paul’s day struggled with the newness of this kingdom which shattered so many of their traditional understandings but as they embraced what God had for them, they experienced God in ways which were transformational. May we do the same today!
Lord, thank you for the joy of your diverse kingdom. Amen.