Sunday, May 13, 2007


The lessons, appointed for this morning, from The Acts of the Apostles and The Revelation to St. John the Divine conspired to make me think about idolatry and priorities. In the Acts Lesson, Paul and Barnabas heal a man in the presence of many. The witnesses mistake Paul and Barnabas for Gods. The Revelation reading envisions a time when God will be so present, that there will be no need for the Temple. Hence, the temple, as the place of intersection between God and people, will be irrelevant.

The point, in some sense, of both readings is the difference between being a vehicle for God and being of ultimate importance. Paul and Barnabas are workers bringing the love, health and wholeness of the Kingdom. Their power stems from God. They are not the source, but the present servants.

The Temple is an important place in Judaism. It the early days of Judaism, God dwelt in the Ark of the Covenant and the Tent of Meeting. Eventually, Solomon built a permanent place for God and humans to meet. The vision in Revelation is of a time, when no intermediary need exist and, in fact, would be a barrier, an idol.

Idols are everywhere. In numerous ways, we ascribe attention and devotion in accoutrements that cannot carry the weight, we invest in them. It is not that the symbols to which we attached are bad; it is that they simply are not worthy of our utmost attachment. Some make the Bible an idol. Some make certain familial relationships the ultimate focus. For others, it could be a particular type or element of worship. A particular mission or ministry of the Church itself could be elevated, beyond what is appropriate.

It is easy for us, to confuse the temporal and the eternal. It is easy for us to cling to the vessel, rather than seek the potter. The reality of our state is that we often accept the immediate, rather than wait for the ultimate.

We continually make the poor trade. We will hunger and thirst, as long as we accept the quick fix. It does not have to be this way. The eternal One offers us a better deal. We are offered real peace. God only requires our hearts.

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