March 28

Mark 15:25-39

“Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.” vss. 37-38

According to Josephus, a Jewish historian of the first century, the curtain of the temple was a Babylonian tapestry, a blue veil embroidered with a panorama of the heavens that kept the Holy of Holies from being seen. After Jesus’ death, it was said by some that at the very moment of his last breath, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. Mark loved that story.  For him it paralleled the events of Jesus’ baptism when it was said that the heavens were torn apart and the Spirit descended in the form of a dove. It was Mark’s way of saying that in Jesus the division between God and humanity had been destroyed. No longer could we think that God was in heaven, completely separate from the earth–in Jesus it was made perfectly clear that heaven and earth were one, that every place is full of God. That’s why, some years later, when the temple was destroyed by the Roman armies, Christians quickly adapted. They didn’t need a Holy of Holies to know that God was present among them–the dividing line had been broken down and worship could take place in every moment and in every place. That’s why congregations have been able to survive and even prosper in the age of COVID. Even when campuses were closed, worship continued in the most unlikely settings!

Thought for the Day: Why do some quit worshipping when churches close?

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