Friday, June 11, 2010

"The place on which you are standing is holy ground"

Via Kevin Butler at SDB Exec, David Stovall of Highland Baptist Church in Waco, Texas: "Worship spaces should be sanctuaries":
What has happened to reverence for God and respect for the sanctuary of God?

Before we can answer, we need to understand the meaning of reverence, respect and sanctuary. To have reverence is to have a deep feeling of respect or even awe. Respect is to hold someone or something in high regard or honor.

The sanctuary is designated as the holiest of holies in a place of worship — an especially holy place in the church building.

In this day of multitasking, multimedia and multipurpose buildings, a special place for worshiping God has been pushed out. Either due to budget concerns, practicality or efforts to get the most use out of one building, the sanctuary is being replaced by the multipurpose building. In doing this, we have lost sight of the main purpose of coming to church, which is to worship God. ....

.... I have no problem with having meals and playing games at church in the proper place and at the proper time, but rushing the service and having these activities in a place that should be the holy of holies is not honoring to God or his sanctuary. We are not giving God the proper reverence and respect he deserves. God wants us to have communion with him. He wants us to feel his presence. He wants us to spend time with him as a congregation in worship, praise, listening to the teaching of his word and waiting to hear him.

God is jealous. He wants our devotion to be focused on him, not on rushing to finish the service so we can use the building for something else. God is the Maker of the universe. We should stand in awe of him and give him the highest place of honor. This requires a special place of worship — a sanctuary.

Granted, there are a few exceptions, such as churches that begin in storefronts or houses with expectation of having a sanctuary as they grow.

The Bible says we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. So, some would say we do not need a special building to worship God. As individuals, that is true. But as a congregation, there should be a special place where we can spend time with God — a place totally dedicated to God, where he can be reverenced, respected and honored, where we can feel his presence and see his hand at work through the Holy Spirit in miracles and the changing of lives by spending time with him in the temple or the sanctuary. It is a holy place and is to be treated with utmost respect. ....

...[G]ive reverence, respect and honor to the Lord God Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth. Let us give him the highest and best place in our facilities — a place totally dedicated to worshiping God, the Redeemer of our souls.

Give him a sanctuary.
Associated Baptist Press - Opinion: Worship spaces should be sanctuaries