Worshipping the Temple

WHEN CHRIST DIED on the cross, the veil of the temple was torn from top to bottom. That veil had significant symbolic meaning. And after the resurrection, is there any record anywhere that Jesus ever again entered the temple? Is it unreasonable to conclude that Jesus came to free humankind from bondage—even the bondage of institutional religion?

Your writers in the July issue (Rosemary Radford Ruether and Richard Rohr) both did a masterly job defending the institutional church. But which church? Can anyone distinguish between church and cult...or modern-day golden calf?

In 1967 I sadly left institutional religion. Was that a mistake? Looking back now after a quarter century, I hardly see how I could have done otherwise. But still the heart longs for an earthly tabernacle—this "object of the hand" that can be controlled by us, this celestial container that turns mystery into eternity. After the confusion and heat of the journey, my mind must return at last to simple answers. Is there any answer more beautiful than those ageless words, "What does the Lord require but to love justice and mercy and to walk humbly with thy Lord?"

Church, meaning organization, is only a tool—never the thing in itself! There are no easy indulgences for sale anywhere. The burning bush remains, never consumed.

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Sojourners Magazine September-October 1994
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