I have to begin this afternoon by admitting that my sermon from yesterday is bleeding over into my thoughts for this week. I’m still thinking about what it means that Jesus declares that the Temple, the center of religious, political, and social life in first century Jerusalem will come tumbling down. I keep looking over my shoulder, wondering what Temples I’ve built – what is it that I worship instead of God?
It seems like an easy transition to move from the destruction of the Temple to the Kingship of Jesus. The Temple signifies all the rules we’ve made, presumably to keep the riff-raff out. In The Episcopal Church, the examples are numerous, but a recent Church Pension Fund cartoon sums up my least favorite barrier to entry
I should say here that I’m not an anarchist. I think rules are important. I’m a type-a rule follower, if there ever was one. My concern is that every few centuries or so, we forget who makes the rules. Eventually, the kingdom gets so bogged down in the Temple, that the walls come tumbling down. The Great Schism(s), the Protestant Reformation, and the coming Great Emergence (Tickle) or Fourth Great Awakening (Butler Bass) are all examples of times when it was found that the rules and the kingdom could not co-exist. Eventually, after a lot of pain, a lot of name calling, a lot of Christians behaving badly, the walls came down, the Kingdom returned to its rightful place at the center of devotion, and human beings got busy remaking stones and rebuilding Temples.
Every year at Christ the King week, I have thoughts similar to this. And every year I find myself wondering, “what kind of church would God build?” And every year I am drawn to the same story, one told by Tony Campolo about a trip to a donut shop in Honolulu, HI.