Exodus 25 and 26 talk a lot about cubits and gold inlays and cherubim and acacia wood. So much so that I’m guessing many of us simply gloss over it. But something jumped out at me today. Exodus 25:21-22:
And you shall put the mercy seat on the top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the testimony that I shall give you. There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you about all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel.
God designed for the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant to be the place where he met with His people through the High Priest. His instructions were highly specific because God was telling His people that they were to come to Him on His terms, not their own. God actually met His people at the Ark in the Temple and gave commands for how His people were to live.
What I was struck by though is that the designs were ornate. God was not content to meet with His people just anywhere. He wanted to meet with them in a place of beauty, grace, and splendor. Over the centuries, the church has taken this to mean that our buildings are to be impressive in structure and scope. And while there may be something to this, I think it misses the point.
God does not meet with His people in buildings and temples. He meets with us through Jesus in the community of His people and within our own hearts. So the parallel is not that since Israel built beautiful structures, we should too. The parallel is that since God called Israel to build glorious structures, we should build our lives, both individually, and in community with other believers (i.e. the Church) in such a way that God’s glory and grace can be clearly seen in the world.
We are the ones who carry the message of the Gospel of Jesus into the world. Our bodies, and the Body, are the places where God resides. We are where the world meets God through Jesus. Let us build each other up as God fashions us into the perfect image of His Son for all the world to see.