At the king’s command they removed from the quarry large blocks of high-grade stone to provide a foundation of dressed stone for the temple. – 1 Kings 5:17 (NIV)
Sometimes I think of housecleaning as templing. I know it’s not a word. You’re building a little temple, a place to live and enjoy. A place to see beauty. A place to consider being holy. A place to alter and to altar.
In our post-secular world, we don’t go to church very much. And if we do, we find the smell of baked beans, the piles of who-knows-what-to-do-with-it left over from the Sunday schools of yore, or we find a lot of extra bulletins printed just in case people come.
When Covid forced us to remain home, the familiar church smells and piles were absent. My congregation gave me a Christmas ornament picturing me conducting mid-Covid Advent in my purple bathroom from my bedroom. They were amused. We didn’t realize at the time that we would still be worshiping from home the following Easter, hoarsely singing alleluia.
Nor did we understand the rapidity with which we would move to hybrid worship, the kind to which you can wear a sweatshirt or a bathrobe.
So why not think of our homes as temples?
Our congregation built a fire pit so we could worship outside like our ancient forebears did. We didn’t make hand-hewn stones like those at Machu Picchu in Peru high on the mountain. They were fitted perfectly to build the whole altar in such a way that even if there was an earthquake they would still link.
We are reduced to smaller altars. But that doesn’t mean we can’t pray.
God of life after loss, through hybrid worship and transitioning traditions, help us retain beauty and our urgency for it. Amen.