March 11, 2018

Adult Bible Study Online

A current connection to each week's session

There Is No God like You
2 Chronicles 6:12-21

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I confess that I am often tempted to skip the many scriptural passages that recount construction plans for the tabernacle or the temple, the rituals and sacrifices, and the roles of the priests, Levites, and singers. I notice that some contemporary translations render these passages in small print, or even as footnotes.

To our chronicler, however, these are matters of supreme importance. For him, the religious life of Israel and Judah centers on the temple, as it was established first by the theocratic kings David and Solomon. Like the psalmist, the chronicler might emote, “Zeal for your house consumes me” (Psalm 69:9).

Older people today remember when conventional wisdom dictated large church building projects. (If you build it, they will come.) Today’s wisdom is to sell off the old churches and use the funds accrued for social and community programs, storefront outreach, and niche evangelism. If big-box church buildings are built these days, they need to be multipurpose, multiprogram facilities, established among growing and youthful populations.

Have we perhaps come to regard holy places such as Jerusalem, Mecca, and the Ganges River as too messy (too fraught with religious and political baggage)? We may instead talk about “sacred spaces,” often wilderness areas far away from obvious human impositions.

Mark records Jesus’ declaration: “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers’” (Mark: 11:17). In his prayer, Solomon emphasizes that the temple is not the particular home of God, but a place where God’s presence may be found. It is especially a house of prayer—prayers that God will hear in heaven, his dwelling place.

The concept of local churches as houses of prayer may not be in the forefront nowadays. Most churches no longer have regular prayer meetings, and Sunday morning prayers may be quite limited in duration and content. But, especially given our interconnected world, perhaps viewing our home church as “a house of prayer for all nations” is not too extravagant an idea.

  • What makes a place sacred?
  • Is your congregation’s meeting place a house of prayer? What are you praying for?
    • —Kevin McCabe,

      © 2018

      Kevin McCabe is a writer, teacher, and poet. He was formerly an instructor in Classics at several universities, and has also been the author and editor of two books on Lucy Maud Montgomery and a number of works on the history and literature of the Niagara Peninsula. Kevin is a member of Grace Mennonite Church in St. Catharines where he lives with his wife and two daughters.

      This article supplements Adult Bible Study, a quarterly Bible curriculum for adults. Adult Bible Study provides in-depth, challenging Bible study from an Anabaptist-Mennonite perspective, written by an intercultural group of pastors, teachers, professors, and leaders across Canada and the United States. Sessions include daily Bible readings, resources for additional study, and free downloadable resources.

      Order the current student and teachers guides here. To begin a subscription or ask about bulk pricing, call MennoMedia at 1-800-245-7894.

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