A new old way to imagine Church.
How does God see time and space?
Our faith is built up from a series of events, when God broke into time and either spoke to His prophets, or performed mighty acts or, in the most significant event for mankind as a whole, appeared in the womb of a young virgin called Miriam, living in a nondescript village in a land under occupation and was born into a World that had been primed for such an event.
Biblical history has been said to be a triumph of time over space. It is so because God initiated these incidents and tells us to remember them. At certain times He pulled apart the “ethereal fabric” and blew down the walls of Jericho, caused the sun to stop in its tracks, brought down plagues on Pharaoh and returned to the dead body of Jesus after three days in the tomb. We are told to remember these moments, these events, rather than dwell on where they happened. No-one really knows for sure the location of Sinai, or the tomb of Jesus because we are expected to dwell on the act of God itself rather than the place where He acted. And even if we did know the location, then it is a fruitless task to perform a pilgrimage, because God acts in time not in space.
This is a fundamental concept and it is one of the many instances where the Hebraic mind and the Greek mind part company. The Greek emphasis is on space, rather than time. It is because of this that many in the Church through history have visited places like Lourdes or Canterbury Cathedral, or have fought over patches of land where something of biblical significance once happened or have paid homage to dead bones or imaginary relics. God is long gone, if indeed He had already visited there in the first place!
There is one exception to this, Jerusalem.
May God, who has caused his Name to dwell there, overthrow any king or people who lifts a hand to change this decree or to destroy this temple in Jerusalem. I Darius have decreed it. Let it be carried out with diligence. (Ezra 6:12)
Jerusalem is so special to God, that He has put His name there. It was, and still is, a holy place that is yet to experience many holy moments. It also houses the only really holy place for the Jewish people, the Western Wall, a place of community focus for religious Jews.
This is an extract from the book, Hebraic Church, available for £10 at http://www.sppublishing.com/hebraic-church-101-p.asp