Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Building Together

Today as we celebrate the Apostles Simon and Jude I saw something in St. Paul's letter to the Ephesians that I am sure I have read dozens of times yet never noticed.

We talk often about how we are the temple of the Holy Spirit and our tendency is to focus on the individual gift that we received at baptism and again at confirmation. But chapter 2 verse 22 is not about individuals.

in him you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

The Letter to the Ephesians like most of Paul's letters is not written to individuals. It is written to the Church at Ephesus. It is the church that is the κατοικητήριον: dwelling place, habitation, home. We are stones in the dwelling place. I am not the dwelling place. I am one stone, one brick.

This is underscored by the verb. In English two words "built together" In greek one word, the verb to build prefixed with the prefix "syn." It denotes a sameness, oneness, a togetherness that is more than sitting side by side.

We not little individual saved stones who once a week sit together. We "are being built together" into a single edifice. And notice that it is an ongoing process. He doesn't say, you have been built together, but you are being built together. We human beings try all to often to tear ourselves apart.

Today we are reminded that the apostles were send out not simply to preach the gospel to individuals but to build the new temple. May our words and actions today be ones that, guided by the Holy Spirit, continue to build together, and never tear apart.