Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
February 24 is often observed as a commemoration day for Matthias, the apostle selected to replace Judas, as recorded in Acts chapter one. Commemorations such as this are generally held on the day the individual died, as, in some ways, that is the day the person is finally born to eternal life. Churches which recognize a commemoration will often, in the case of important people, change the regular Sunday readings if the day itself falls on a Sunday, as Matthias’ day does this year.
In our reading from Isaiah 66:1-2, God declares that his throne is heaven and his footstool is the earth. For this reason, God wants nothing that we could build him. Many Christians will say, based on passages such as this, that God doesn’t want us to spend resources on fine buildings in his honor. They will speak of the historic churches and cathedrals and of how the elaborate decorations and furnishings were a waste of money which could have been used to help the poor. After all, God needs no dwelling place.
This attitude completely misses the point of building a church, as well as the second half of Isaiah 66:2. In our passage, God looks (with favor) upon the humble one, who values God’s Word. This shows a heartfelt care for the humble needy, who look to God for help. And I would remind us, if in doubt, to notice where all of us live - at the footrest of God. The footstool is not used to kick around or abuse, but to be a place of comfort and rest. God rests by having the earth he created close at hand. Just as the king’s royal cat can curl up on his footrest, we can approach close to God, seeking comfort with him. The church building or cathedral is not for God’s comfort, but for ours. He has made his comfort. We, honoring the Lord who rules over heaven and earth, make buildings to show his honor and glory. These buildings are also a means of providing for God’s people. How many laborers and craftsmen are employed by building that cathedral? How many hungry people are fed due to that payroll and the many businesses which spread out around it? How many people are welcome into the church or cathedral to hear he message of hope in Christ, a hope which brings eternal life? The earthly building is a place for God’s people, as the heavens and earth are the place for God.
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