Lobbing a grenade

Grenade

I was lying in bed last night fretting when I should have been sleeping and I had a wonderful thought.  I imagined myself creeping out of the house, under the cover of darkness one Saturday night and throwing hand grenades at all the church buildings I could find.  I then wondered what all the Christians would do when they turned up for a church service on Sunday morning and discovered a pile of rubble where the church had been.  What would they do?  How would they think about doing church differently if they suddenly didn’t have the security of a building to retreat to?  While I very much enjoyed this thought I also felt vaguely naughty for doing so, but then I remembered that Jesus got killed for saying much the same thing.   He said He would destroy the temple in Jerusalem and raise it again in three days.   On my pioneer ministry training course http://pioneer.cms-uk.org we have just finished a module about the big story of the bible and it really gave me new insights into the radical nature of Jesus’ teaching and ministry.  For the people of Israel, God’s elect, the temple symbolised God’s presence with them and His blessing and protection in the midst of their struggles for nationhood and identity.  Talking of its destruction evoked cultural memories of exile and alienation, the punishment they endured because of their inability to live in response to God’s love and goodness as revealed to them in Him delivering them from slavery.  However, Jesus is referring here not to the temple itself but to God’s presence as incarnate or embodied in His very personhood.  He was foretelling that it would be torn down in His death and rebuilt in His resurrection three days later.  In fantasising about the ultimate in church deconstruction, I suppose I am wondering have we made the mistake of the Pharisees?  Have we focused on the material reminder of God’s goodness rather than seeking to be a flesh and blood manifestation of His love and transforming power in our world?  This morning I got in the car and looked down to find a water pistol in the shape of a hand grenade.  What is God saying?

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