Dozens of new high rise buildings have been constructed in Nashville during the last five years. I counted seven gigantic cranes highlighting the cityscape at one point from my office window in downtown Nashville.
It’s been bittersweet to see these tall buildings seem to grow right out of the ground. Nashville’s construction shows vitality but it also comes with its own growing pains.
Affordable housing has become an issue as most of the new housing in development is high end real estate. What use to take fifteen minutes now takes double or even triple that amount to get into town during rush hour. The construction barrel has become the new state flower.
Building vs. Building Up
Yet for all their influence on the city, they are but buildings that remind me of the Jewish Temple of Jesus’ times. The Temple was much bigger and grander than any building ever imagined for its time and place, yet it, too, could be toppled. While the Romans burned the Temple, it was Jesus who called out its demise. Why? Because it no longer served the people it had been created to be in relationship with. It was a building that lost it’s purpose of building up. The Temple and its priests hoarded the wealth of the Temple for themselves, while the hungry, the poor, the sick cried out for relief. God heard their cry and gave the Temple ample warning to do better through Jesus.
As Jesus left the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Teacher, look! What awesome stones and buildings!”
Jesus responded, “Do you see these enormous buildings? Not even one stone will be left upon another. All will be demolished.” Mark 13:1-2 CEB
If the Temple could be brought down for not practicing its purpose, its ministry, how much more can churches be allowed to stand who have wandered away from their mission of doing for the least of these?
If Jesus was willing to call out the Temple for not building up the people, how much more does He want to call each of our churches out for not fulfilling the mission of the church – to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world?
Dear God, help us to do your will in our churches. Help us to remember they are but buildings able to be brought down easily if they no longer serve their purpose for all your people – even the least of these. Amen.