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Homliy for 10/8/06 - P17 - Temple of the Living God

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  • Fr David Moser
    2 Cor 6:16-7:1 You are the temple of the Living God. Stop for a moment and consider that very remarkable statement – You are the temple of the Living God.
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 7, 2006
      2 Cor 6:16-7:1

      You are the temple of the Living God. Stop for a moment and consider
      that very remarkable statement – You are the temple of the Living God.
      What a remarkable thing to say. We, who are creatures, and rebellious
      sinful creatures at that, are so loved and valued by God that He has
      chosen us for His temple. And then the Apostle quotes the promise of God
      to His chosen people and applies it to us who have been joined to Him in
      the Church and says, “I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will
      be their God, and they shall be my people.” See how close, how intimate
      the relationship with God to which we are called.

      Let us consider for a moment the nature of a temple. First, a temple is
      something that is specially constructed or built. It is something that
      is formed and shaped for the purpose of worship. In this manner, our
      temple here is built as a place of worship and we constantly add more
      and more to it so that our hearts and minds might be drawn to God – we
      put our “stamp” on it and continually refine its worshipful quality.

      Secondly, a temple is a place that is set aside, a place that is not
      used for any other purpose than for the worship of God. Everything that
      takes place in a temple is an act of worship and is centered on God. We
      see this clearly here in our own little temple – this building, this
      room that is set aside for the worship of God. Nothing is done here that
      does not have our relationship to God as its central purpose. Even those
      things which are not overt acts of worship – conversations, meals,
      cleaning, etc become filled with the purpose of expressing God who
      dwells within us. All is done with a sense of reverence and a higher
      degree of awareness of God’s presence.

      A temple is a place that is kept pure and holy. When we began to worship
      here, we blessed water, we read prayers of exorcism and sprinkled the
      whole of the building asking God to drive out any evil spirit and any
      evil influence that lurked here. Every year at the feast of Theophany
      (as well as at other times) we sprinkle the temple again with Holy
      Water, renewing the blessing. We purified the building then and we keep
      it pure by the way we behave and act in the temple. We do not run and
      shout, we do not engage in common activities, we don’t even kill insects
      and other “pests” that find their way in. We don’t bring pets or
      livestock into the temple; we don’t put up any old picture or sing any
      old song – but only adorn the temple with icons and we only sing hymns
      here. If by some tragedy, the temple is defiled, we start over and begin
      again with the prayers and exorcisms and blessings, making the place
      pure and sanctified again.

      Not only is it important to keep the temple pure by keeping it free from
      that which is evil or even just that which is common, but the temple is
      filled with holy activity – with prayer, hymns, spiritual songs; with
      acts of love, mercy and compassion; with the celebration of the
      sacraments. A temple cannot be just an empty place, but it must be a
      place where we are active and where we participate in the worship of God.

      All of this talk about this building which is our temple also applies to
      each of us who the Apostle calls the “temple of the Living God”. We are
      specially created – God made man for the purpose of being His temple,
      His dwelling place. He said, “Let us make man in our image and likeness”
      so that as His temple, we are the image of the One Who is within. It is
      no accident that we are the temple of the Living God – He actively
      formed and fashioned man for the particular purpose that He might dwell
      in and walk in us.

      Not only are we created to be the temple of the Living God, but we are
      also set aside to be used only for the purpose of glorifying God. This
      is our proper and true purpose and function. Whenever we stray from this
      purpose, whenever we try to order our lives to any other purpose, we
      stray from God’s purpose for us. Everything we do, everything thing we
      accomplish, everything that we are has to fit into that purpose of
      serving God. If our lives do not serve God, then they are empty and
      meaningless because they have departed from the purpose for which we are
      created. There should be nothing in us, no thought, no desire, no
      feeling, no sensation, that does not direct us to God for we are set
      aside as the temple of the Living God for the exclusive purpose of
      worshipping Him.

      As the temple of the Living God we are also purified and sanctified so
      that we might be a fit dwelling place for Him. We are washed and cleaned
      of all sin and defilement by Baptism; we are filled with the Holy Spirit
      by Chrismation. Whenever any sin enters in, it is quickly banished by
      Confession. The Holy Mysteries of the Most Holy Body and Most Precious
      Blood of Christ constantly reunite us to Christ and fill us with His
      real and palpable presence. We constantly renew and strengthen this
      sanctification by prayer, both personal and corporate. Because we have
      Christ dwelling in us, we then avoid anything that is impure or that
      could defile the temple and cause Him sorrow. We are the temple of the
      Living God and therefore it is necessary to avoid sin and any other
      defilement and to actively seek out those things which bring to us more
      of the grace of God so that our sanctification will continue to be made
      real in us. Like our inanimate temple, we should constantly be filled
      with prayers and hymns and spiritual songs, with acts of love, mercy and
      compassion, with the presence of Jesus Christ which we gain through the
      Sacraments. We cannot be inert and inactive in the worship of God, but
      must be active participants in glorifying the One Who dwells in us.

      All this is summed up in the final words of this prophecy, “I will be
      their God and they shall be My people.” As we pray, “have mercy on us,
      for Thou art our God and we Thy people are all the work of Thy hands and
      we call upon Thy Name.” This sums up the whole of our existence, this
      expresses the very purpose of our being. We are specially made, we are
      set aside, we are purified and sanctified so that we, the people of God,
      might be His dwelling place. He has chosen us and we have chosen Him. He
      dwells in us and walks in us and He has received us that He might be a
      Father to us, and we might be His sons and daughters.

      “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse
      ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting
      holiness in the fear of God.”

      --
      Archpriest David Moser
      St Seraphim of Sarov Orthodox Church (ROCOR)
      Homilies: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/propoved/
      Ask Fr David: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/frd_private/
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