Friday, January 24, 2014

Monasteries and thoughts about church

Happy Sabbath everyone. Since it is God's special day what a perfect time to think about God's house and the place of worship itself- the church. Today in Lima we visited the palace, St. Francis Monastery, and the Iglesia Compania de Jesus Catholic Church. Both of the cathedrals were astounding- I can't even begin to describe how beautiful they were. The art, the architecture, the designs, and the paintings- everything was perfect, gold plastered, oil painted, massive...

There are so many beautiful Catholic churches around the world! I can't help but think that some of the other religions like my church SDA's are missing out on some of the beauty and aspects of worshiping Christ by not taking the time and money to invest in a beautiful house for the presence of God, as well as art and architecture that reflects His character. We're talking about God's house after all- does He not deserve the best?

I know most SDA churches I've been too are simply buildings with hard seats. I'm not excited to see the building. Unfortunately, nor often do I come with an attitude of reverence knowing that I am in the house of God Himself. What a shame! EGW says

          "From the sacredness which was attached to the earthly sanctuary, Christians may learn how they should regard the place where the Lord meets with His people. There has been a great change, not for the better, but for the worse, in the habits and customs of the people in reference to religious worship. The precious, the sacred, things which connect us with God are fast losing their hold upon our minds and hearts, and are being brought down to the level of common things. The reverence which the people had anciently for the sanctuary where they met with God in sacred service has largely passed away. Nevertheless, God Himself gave the order of His service, exalting it high above everything of a temporal nature."

1 Kings 8:10-13 talks about the house of God being a Holy place- where the glory of God can be revealed. Thus are we prepared for the glory of God to be revealed in our churches?
Is the church structure prepared to demonstrate God's glory? And even more importantly are we the people prepared for God's glory?

Exodus 25:8 Let them construct a sanctuary for me; that I may dwell among them.

In the Old Testament, one thing that we can learn about God, is that He cares about beauty, order, and details. We can see that with his directions and requirements for the sanctuary. The sanctuary has absolutely perfect design reflecting the heavenly sanctuary. Only in somewhere so pure can God's glory be revealed.

2 Samuel 7:5-7 " .. Would you build me a house to dwell in?.."

Yes as the New Testament explains, our temple for God is our body- God wants to dwell in us personally- how wonderful! But shouldn't we still pay attention to our place of worship? When I went in the Catholic churches, I was stunned by the grandness and it reminded me of the purity of Christ. Then I saw paintings of the twelve disciples- and looking into each painting helped me paint their stories into my hearts. There was a huge library full of books of the Bible to study and memorize and ancient documents the teacher would study. There was a kitchen where everyday San Franciscans come and cook for the poor and a beautiful garden center where God's glory in nature could be revealed.

I believe that God speaks to everyone in different ways and often with many different things: nature, paintings, music, architecture, words, friends, art- I just love that you can hear Jesus' voice in so many ways at the churches we visited today. I love the spirit of holiness and purity- it helps me see God clearer.

 Today is Sabbath and I encourage you to look into visiting a beautiful church, or invest time or money in making your church beautiful (after all it is a meeting place for the glory of God to be revealed). Art depicting Biblical stories can do wonders for helping to see the Bible come to life. Beautiful music, and gentle instruments can help you listen to God's voice. A nice outside park or area with benches and a place of open nature would be a nice release for people to see God.Most importantly, it is important that we change our own hearts and come to church with a heart of reverence and willingness to see God, share God's glory, and learn more about Him.


Acts 7:8 Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made by hands, as the prophet says, “‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord, or what is the place of my rest?

Ecclesiastes 5:1 Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil.
1 Kings 8:10-13 It happened that when the priests came from the holy place, the cloud filled the house of the LORD, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD. Then Solomon said, "The LORD has said that He would dwell in the thick cloud. read more.
- See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/House-Of-God#sthash.BTGZaPin.dpuf
1 Kings 8:10-13 It happened that when the priests came from the holy place, the cloud filled the house of the LORD, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD. Then Solomon said, "The LORD has said that He would dwell in the thick cloud. read more.
- See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/House-Of-God#sthash.BTGZaPin.dpuf

1 Kings 8:10-13 It happened that when the priests came from the holy place, the cloud filled the house of the LORD, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD. Then Solomon said, "The LORD has said that He would dwell in the thick cloud. read more.
- See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/House-Of-God#sthash.BTGZaPin.dpuf

1 Kings 8:10-13 It happened that when the priests came from the holy place, the cloud filled the house of the LORD, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD. Then Solomon said, "The LORD has said that He would dwell in the thick cloud. read more.
- See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/House-Of-God#sthash.BTGZaPin.dpuf

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