First Congregational United Church of Christ George Hirst
Invocation Psalms 30: 4-5
From Tent to Temple From a pillar of smoke to a living, loving Presence
Introduction: For the entire length of the faith we have named Judeo-Christian?, followers have been admonished to meet together. In the process of that, structures have been built. From the wilderness tent (which was the OT lesson for today) to King Solomon's building of the temple as recorded in I Kings 6:1-3, to Paul's references to the "Church that meets in your house" as we read from II Cor. 1: 1-4 The people of God have gathered to celebrate the love of God, to hear the admonitions about their lives and to be challenged in the practice of their faith in the world.
You see, this is the way, we who are intentional member of the gathering of God's people, make our gatherings a statement of our intention to be followers of God.
I Exodus 26: 1-6 "Make the sacred Tent, the Tent of my presence out of ten pieces of fine linen woven with blue, purple and red wool"
The Children of Abraham, as they left the captivity in Egypt and spent 40 years crossing the desert, were woefully ignorant about the God Moses presented to them. So a portable tabernacle was erected. The instructions were specific and careful. After crossing the Jordan (the tent went first, and according to Scripture was the cause of the water dividing) it was still at the center of their homes. The Kings built fancy temples and it wasn't until Solomon became King that the Temple made of stone was built. The temple was at Jerusalem and because the followers of God were scattered, centers, called synagogues were present in the towns and village. But it was always clear that it was a Presence of the God who had led them out of Egypt to the Promised Land.
2 Acts l: l2-14 "They gathered frequently to pray as a group, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus and with his brothers." vs l4
We continue on with this physical remembrance of the presence of God with the followers of the Risen Jesus gathering to pray and to remember The Savior and their protector and guide.
3 II Corinthians l: l-4 "To the church of God which is in Corinth, to all who are called to be God's Holy People, who belong to him in union with Christ Jesus, together with all people everywhere who worship our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and Saviour" .vs 2
Following Paul's Road to Damascus conversion and his traveling in the Roman Empire, gathering in private homes was the element of the Remembrance of the Presence of God. The primary element in all of the letters to those gathering was the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Application: Let me give you this thought, The Church of God has always been a church of intention. Led and inspired by a loving God — who took "us" from captivity in Egypt to Jerusalem, to Roman — to the whole world. Our fellowship in Wyoming is also a church of intention - to proclaim a loving God and to be a place of mission for the whole community.
The 50 plus years that I have worked, read, listened, prayed, meditated and preached in the church has been interesting to say the least. One thing has always been certain, the fellowships of my acquaintance have been an intentional church. There has also been changes of the ministry.
The ecumenical movement that began when I was in high school is present. In fact instead of being a novelty, it is taken for granted that churches work together, plan together, that includes different theology. This congregation, as I see it, is not a workshop for sinners, not a gathering place for saints, it is a place where we learn of our mission, our being sent into the world to show and tell the Gospel of love.
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