“You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1 Pet. 2:5
Old Testament images are transformed by Jesus. He equated his body to the temple. Peter referred to the people of God as the spiritual stones and the Apostle Paul equated our bodies to temples of the holy spirit. It is no wonder that Jesus was angry that the physical temple had been perverted into a marketplace, devoid of its original purpose. He transformed brick and mortar into a spiritual house where we could meditate and meet God.
For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses—as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God. Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house, if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.
Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love. . . For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.
In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their temples. And he told those who sold the pigeons. “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” . . . He was speaking about the temple of his body.
Three workers were queried about their tasks. The first one said, “I’m working here on construction. I get my wages at the end of the day, and I go home.” The second one was a craftsman. “I am using my craft to complete this work. I take pride in my skills and it shows.” The final man, understanding the intent, declared, “I’m building a cathedral.”
Our lives can be much like those three workers. We can go about our daily business, meeting our obligations, not putting much thought into our meaning or purpose. Or, we can focus on honing our skills—keying on self-improvement and professional development. Fulfillment is found in a job well done. Yet Jesus has a higher calling for us—he wants to build a cathedral.
As a teacher I often thought of that parable as I worked with adolescents. It was a challenge to see my work as “cathedral-building” at the end of the day when my energy and enthusiasm were waning. Yet, having that perspective prevented me from giving up and doing the bare minimum. When we understand that we are called by God to be living stones in his temple, it sets a higher standard. Ultimately, we are responsible to only him for what we do.
Lord, it is easy for us to forget that we are the temple of the holy spirit. Our daily routines are often devoid of joy and meaning when we see them as drudgery rather than a higher calling. Help us see our lives as cathedral building. Amen.