Aloha Friday Message – January 13, 2012 – Sh’khinah Glory for you

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Read it online here.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV) – Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
KJV: 19. What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20. For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

NJB 1 Corinthians 6:18 Keep away from sexual immorality. All other sins that people may commit are done outside the body; but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19 Do you not realise that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you and whom you received from God? 20 You are not your own property, then; you have been bought at a price. So use your body for the glory of God.

Aloha nui loa, Beloved! Grace and Peace are with you from God our Father and from our Lord, Jesus Christ. Recently we took a look at the interior of The Temple as it was arranged in Solomon’s time, and that was based on the Tent of Meeting originally established during Moses’ leadership of Israel. We learned that there is inside of us a Holy of Holies, a tabernacle, a place for God to dwell within us, to rest with us on a throne which we provide. We also learned that access to that resting place is no longer barricaded to keep us out. In Solomon’s Temple there were three curtains or “veils”; the entrance to the Outer Court. That veil was called The Way. The second veil led to The Holy Place where the objects used in the sacred worship of God were stored. The veil to that area was called The Truth. The final veil was the heaviest and most sacred because it led to the Holy of Holies, the place where God was present among His people enthroned on the Cherubim of the Ark of the Covenant. That veil was called The Life. The next logical step is to understand that is the source of Jesus’ reference to Himself as The Way, the Truth, and The Life. And we also recall that at the moment of His death, “the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.”

Jesus, Emanuel – God With Us – took down the barriers so that God can dwell in every heart through every time and place. If we think about the historical facts we know about that veil called The Life we can get some insights into Paul’s understanding of the significance of this event as he explained it in the Epistle to the Hebrews, chapter 9. Herod Antipas, the Roman-backed “ruler” of Israel, had done some remodeling for the temple and had increased the height of the temple to about 60 cubits high (around 90 feet) 16 cubits wide (about 24 feet) and about 4 inches thick – the width of a man’s palm. It was made of dyed linen cords of purple, blue and red and embroidered with Cherubim. Here are a couple of renderings of what it might have looked like.

Something that big and solid constituted a formidable barrier. It was so heavy that it reportedly took 20 Priests to open it. Once it was torn, it signified the end of God’s Sh’khinah Glory – His actual presence when dwelling in the Temple. (Sh’khinah is an ancient word used to describe the “abiding, dwelling, or habitation” of the physical manifestations of YHWH described in Exodus 24:16, and 40:35.)

There were two veils torn that day. We have thought about the veil of the Temple, but there was also the Veil of the Flesh of Jesus. In a later passage in Hebrews 10:20, Paul says we now have entry to the Holiest of places by “the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh,” And because these two veils were torn apart for us, our bodies are the dwelling place for God. The Temple was an extraordinary building fabricated of the finest materials and a symbol of the great wealth of Israel even as a subjugated nation, a source of nationalistic pride and afforded deep reverence. In Israel’s past, the desecration and destruction of the Temple was seen as the consequences of their failure to love and serve God as He commanded. Now, in this act of destruction – the rending of the veil – the Temple is essentially decommissioned – laicized if you will. It is no longer a place for God’s Sh’khinah Glory – the Spirit of the Living God Dwelling Among Us. He has removed the barrier and commissioned billions and billions of new Temple locations. That would be us. God moved closer – from God among us to God within us.

When Christ sent His Spirit to us at Pentecost they were prepared by the Holy Spirit to do the work of evangelization as the Spirit descended on them as tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. God took up His dwelling, his presence, his Sh’khinah Glory, in them. And in us as well. Once we open the door at which Jesus stands and knocks, the Glory of the Lord is enshrined in our hearts, and our bodies house this astonishing shrine, the Tabernacle of the living God. Paul’s warns us that we should not desecrate it, especially with immorality which he describes as sins against ourselves. You see, while every sin we commit is a sin against God because it is a rejection of His Love and Grace, we also sin against our own being, or own life, our own bodies which are all a gift from God.

Suppose your spouse, or your child, or your parent, or any earthling who loves you beyond description gave you a beautiful garment to wear. It is a garment made of the finest of materials in your favorite colors, and it was created specifically for you. Then suppose that at first your gratitude was so great you were rendered speechless. You would use this extraordinary gift with the greatest of care. After a time, though, you would become used to it, perhaps, and not look after it as you did at first. Rather than being something to honor, it becomes part of a mundane routine. You might decide to decorate it with images you prefer, and perhaps scent it with things that please you. Perhaps you would also use it in ways and in places that stain and fray and even tear it. From that you might use it for something other than your best clothing. You can understand where I am going with that. You have converted a precious gift to an eyesore that has become monstrously opposite of the gift of love you started out with.

We do that with our bodies. We do things with and in our bodies that dishonor them but are not considered immoral by many but which are still harmful. We smoke or use tobacco in other ways, we use debilitating drugs because of the pleasure they bring – alcohol, narcotics, pain-killers, meth – whatever gets us off best. We color, disfigure, pierce, or scar our flesh. We commit sexual acts against ourselves, including pornography, that are degrading and immoral, and we might even encourage others to treat themselves or us in the same way. In Romans 12:1 Paul counsels us, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship.” And there we have the crux of the whole matter. God caused to be built a dwelling place among earthlings so that He could be with them and they could enjoy and worship Him. That privilege was so badly abused that God had to bring to fruition His plan to do away with a single place on Earth for Him and set up a ubiquitous place to dwell. He chose your heart, the Tabernacle in the Temple of your body.

We chuckle sometimes at the people who are so body-conscious that s/he refers the body as The Temple, or The Shrine. This is because that is what they worship – only the Temple, only the Shrine. They do not reverence or worship the Holiness that resides in the Temple. God place His Spirit in you when He created you. We have that living presence of the Living God in us; it is what makes us alive and created in His image – you and I are human because of it. But think on this: When you dehumanize yourself or other, you dishonor the presence of God in you – you might even be able to replace God Presence with the presence of another, and presence of evil.

Your body is wonderful, and it is the special Meeting Place for you and God. He is always at the Meeting Place – always. And as long as we live, so are we. That means we and God are always in the presence of one-another. He waits for us to open our guest-room for Him so he can take up residence there. How often should we tidy up that room? How often do we need to clean out the garbage, the filth, the desecrations we pile up because they give our bodies pleasures that are illicit and offensive both to us and to God? How often do we point an accusatory finger at someone else when it is our sin that needs purging, our Temple that reeks of the worst of human aberrations? “Oh, I’m not as bad as all that!” Take caution, Beloved. You have just taken the glory for the Glory of God.

All of us have this shameto some degree. But, all of us have a way to purify the temple. “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it — the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.”. Beloved, when we passed through the last veils as they were torn on the Cross and in the ancient Temple, we have the manifestation of God present in us. And yet we sin. We continue to abuse and deface the temple of the Holy Spirit. Let us therefore ask the Spirit Himself to come to this temple. Let us consecrate – that is, set aside for a single purpose – that place for God, to give way to the Sh’khinah Glory – His actual presence. And let us also ask the Spirit to moment-by-moment remind us, “Lo I am with you always until the end of the age.” Maran atha! Marana tha! Never let me forget that He stands beside me, walks before me, calls me by name, and knows me. And like Samuel, may I also say, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.”

Thanks to the forgiveness we have in Christ because the veils were torn, even though these choices for immorality are made so often in our world, we have a way to resist them, or – if need be – to received grace and pardon. There are some among us who have no stain of immorality. Let us work hard to emulate them and turn away from a world that says being pure and moral is pointless. We know better.

Share-A-Prayer
______________________

For TH: Still needs to find a job. Even relocating to another part of the country has not produced lasting results.
For TO: Perhaps a formal rehab program will break the grip of addictions that have scuttled a promising life and left a Temple of the Spirit inhabited by a host of demons. Remember PB, CN, JR, and others in the grip of these demons as well.
For CF and TF: Blessings for a courageous act of love that was a leap of faith aimed at saving another’s life.
For FO: Still battling cancer. Pray for a victory soon.
For the MBN: You are the Living Stones in the greater Temple of God. Support one another with your prayers, blessings, and love.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved.
chick

Greater is He that is in us than he who is in The World.

America Bless God!

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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