BUV Devotion Part 3
Remember Who You Are: The Temple of God
by Rev Marc Chan
Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you? 1 Cor 3: 16 (NLT)
When we were still young, Dad used to take us to the Chan Clan Temple – one where the only qualification was to be born in a family belonging to the Chan Clan in Mauritius. Twice a year, we had dinner together with the others in the Chan
Clan and it provided us all with a sense of belonging, to be connected together even though we were far away from where it all started in Canton (today called Guangzhou), China.
It did not have a big building as such but a small shrine in the middle of a huge plot of land with buildings around which housed those who were disadvantaged with very little means of making a living. The members of the Chan Clan were providing accommodation and other basic needs for those people to live. We were all part of the Chan Clan and we were meant to be looking after each other.
The Temple was in the middle of the community and the symbol of identity and belonging to the Chan Clan. It was the link within the Chan Community that held us all together.
Well, the city of Corinth had many temples dedicated to the Greek gods and the biggest was the one dedicated to the goddess of love – the temple of Aphrodite. In fact, according to historians, there might have been up to three temples dedicated to the Greek goddess of love. It is well known that these temples employed hundreds of prostitutes in order to entertain the rich merchants and local dignitaries.
This was the background against which Paul was writing his epistles to the Corinthians. The many temples in the city were supposed to gather the Corinthians around the Greek gods but they were used more to satisfy the desires of the rich and famous.
One missing element was a temple for Christians in Corinth. So, this is what Paul is referring to here. We, as believers in Jesus Christ, as a result of what He was able to achieve through His death and resurrection, do not need a building to ref
er to as a temple. We, collectively, are the temple of God. The temple is not to be a place of debauchery, like the ones in Corinth, but a holy place where the Holy Spirit dwells.
The temple is the unifying element, the link that binds us together, it gives us a sense of identity and belonging, it is the symbol of God’s love in the wider community as we care for one another. Just like the temple of the Chan Clan, it acts as the glue that binds us all together.
In this very rapidly changing time, we feel fearful, anxious, disconnected and helpless. Things are so different from what we are used to. Church is no longer inside our buildings but flat screens in our lounges, kitchens or even bedrooms. It feels so distant and impersonal.
Yet, just like Paul’s reminder to the Corinthians, we are the temple of God and that is what binds us all together, that is a challenge for us to look after one another, to know that we belong to a big family – believers in Jesus Christ with the Spirit of God living in us. This is where we can find our hope, our strength and our joy in the midst of so much suffering and anxiety surrounding us.
- What does it mean to you that you are God’s temple?
- Do you really believe you are God’s temple? Why or why not?
- How does knowing you are God’s temple affect your thoughts about the impact COVID-19 is having on you and the world?
- What can you do to constantly remind yourself that you are God’s temple?
I hope you find this devotion and the reflection questions useful. We look forward to distributing Part 4 next Tuesday. You can also read previous devotions here.
Rev Marc Chan
BUV Multicultural Consultant