Good morning everyone!
1 Corinthians 3:10-16 (NRSV)
10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building on it. Each builder must choose with care how to build on it. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 the work of each builder will become visible, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each has done.14 If what has been built on the foundation survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If the work is burned up, the builder will suffer loss; the builder will be saved, but only as through fire.
16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
In 70 AD the most important place for Jewish people was destroyed by the Romans. The temple was completely gone. It had been gone long before when the Jewish people were in exile but it had been rebuilt and now it was gone again. That event changes the entire course of religion all around. By taking away the central location for God in Jewish culture, the Jewish people are displaced. What will people do? Where will people go for God? This was where God dwelt. Where does God go now? The destroying of the temple creates uncertainty, a wandering people again, anxiety and conflict.
Out of that event, writers start to write to their people. I am sure this is true for many pieces of this religion but I know that Paul and gospel writers write their stories to a people who need to reimagine where God could reside. The letter to the church in Corinth receives this letter in about 55, so before the temple is completely destroyed but prophets are saying its going to happen. People had heard Jesus say that this might happen. The Gospel writers (writing 80AD-100AD) are definitely trying to explain that. Paul is recognizing a shift in his people that doesn’t place God in the middle of a structure. God is in us, we are the temple. This changes everything. Why does he do this? He is speaking to Jews and Gentiles…those in and those who have no knowledge of God in a location.
We become the temple, the central location for where God resides. And with that structure, we need a foundation to build on. This is radical for Paul to write this. That we could hold God and build on what God gives us, this is a big deal. What will we build on? Where will we build? How will we treat our body if God is central in us?
Here is the question that strikes me for today…what would happen if I let people know that I saw God in them as well? What would happen if I tried to help others make a solid foundation?
I love my job for so many reasons but by far one of the most favorite things that I do is get to meet babies when they are brand new. I love that parents trust me enough to be one of the first arms that surround them and one of the first voices that a baby hears. It is such a privilege. I do not take it lightly. When I hold a baby for the first time, I want my words to start on that foundation that tells them that they are blessed, loved, and good enough for this adventure. I whisper in their ear, “welcome to the world little one. We have been waiting just for you. You are so loved and you will do great things. Blessings upon you.”
And then when those kids come running up to me in church and we chat about very important things, I make sure they get my full attention because they deserve that and it builds up relationship even more into that foundation.
And when those kids get to be teenagers and the world is chaotic. They can definitely talk with me about what is up with that. We might even go out to breakfast so that we can talk about school and life and parents.
The college kids arrive and I get attached because they are thinking through dreams and possibilities.
As adults, I want to make sure people can build foundation there too and relationship and care. Lets go out to coffee and just connect and the world will be better because of it.
But we don’t tell each other enough….you are the temple of God. You hold love, mystery, and blessing. You have a strong foundation that is beautiful and blessed.