The word ‘church’ is derived from the Greek word, kuriakon, meaning of the Lord. It’s a contraction of kuriakon (dōma): ‘house of the Lord’.
In the last blog post, I placed Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple into a present-day tabloid news context. Jesus was incensed by the contemptuous abuse of the ‘house of prayer’: usurped by secular interests, it had become a ‘den of thieves’!
At this church, it was clear that explicit references to the saving work of Jesus were secondary to a wide range of secular promotions. A church named after St. Paul, but lacking in his missionary zeal is a pathetic irony.
Those who defend church sponsorship for these activities will, no doubt, cite the need for Christians to operate at the ‘heart of the community’ and stay ‘relevant to modern society’. The health and self-esteem benefits of this form of ‘exercise’ will also be touted to counter any criticism. But should we be so desperate for community acceptance as to allow secular pursuits to relegate the ministry of promoting the gospel?
I also wonder whether this blatant abuse of a modern day ‘house of prayer’ would garner a similar response to Jesus from 21st Century Christians.
I would hope that all professing Christians would be as hot with indignation as Jesus would be over this. But Jesus did say, ’because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold’ (Matt. 24:12)!
How would Jesus want you to challenge this act of flagrant contempt today?