Why The Church Of Christ Continuously Builds Houses Of Worship
UNABATED POVERTY. Widespread unemployment. Economic recession. These and other grim news and circumstances have a way of catching up with us today. Thus, there are some nonmembers of the Church Of Christ who deem it inappropriate for the Church to be constructing marvelous houses of worship during these times of economic crisis. They would ask: “Why do you unceasingly build huge and costly edifices when times are hard and many people are suffering economically around the world?”
Indeed, the Church Of Christ’s unhindered commitment to build houses of worship has gained the attention of many. Others who do not understand the rationale behind this persist on criticizing the Church and its leadership.
So, what prompts the Church Of Christ in its unrelenting devotion to build houses of worship not only in the Philippines, but also in many countries across the globe, in this difficult time and age? How important is the house of worship and the worship services held in it in the lives of the members of the Church Of Christ? How do they regard these places of worship?
In obedience to God’s command
The Church Of Christ in these last days, through the leadership of its Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, will never cease to uphold the sacred work of building houses of worship because they obey the Lord God’s command to build His temple.
God explicitly says: “Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified” (Hag. 1:8). It cannot be denied that this is God’s command to His people. Thus, the Church will remain fervently committed to building and dedicating houses of worship worldwide.
In addition, these houses of worship are intended to be majestic and magnificent monuments of faith, for it is written:
“This must be a magnificent Temple because our God is greater than all other gods.” (II Chr. 2:5, New Living Translation)
Where they pray and are answered
True servants of God greatly value the house of worship because of its utmost relevance to their spiritual life. In God’s holy abode or temple, especially during their congregational worship services, they can pray to Him and be assured of His help and protection, as His servant then attested: “In my trouble I called to the LORD; I called to my God for help. In his temple he heard my voice; he listened to my cry for help” (II Sam. 22:7, Today’s English Version).
Thus, time and again, the Church Administration reminds the brethren to seek God’s help and guidance in the house of prayer—the Temple—where He listens to their supplications and provides their spiritual needs, as proven by His early servant:
“I love the LORD, because he hears me; he listens to my prayers. He listens to me every time I call to him. The danger of death was all around me; the horrors of the grave closed in on me; I was filled with fear and anxiety. Then I called to the LORD, ‘I beg you, LORD, save me!’ The LORD is merciful and good; our God is compassionate ... In the assembly of all your people, in the sanctuary of your Temple in Jerusalem, I will give you what I have promised. Praise the LORD!” (Ps. 116:1-5, 18, Ibid.)
Where they receive His teachings
Moreover, inside the house of worship, God’s people will receive His blessings and His laws and commands: “And many peoples shall come, and say: ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem” (Isa. 2:3, Revised Standard Version).
In order for them not to forget God, they must obey these commands, rules, and regulations that are taught to them during worship services: “Make sure you don’t forget GOD, your God, by not keeping his commandments, his rules and regulations that I command you today” (Deut. 8:11, The Message).
Obedience to these teachings will ensure them success and of receiving the promised blessings coming from God. He Himself promised: “I am GOD, your God, who teaches you how to live right and well. I show you what to do, where to go. If you had listened all along to what I told you, your life would have flowed full like a river, blessings rolling in like waves from the sea” (Isa. 48:17-18, Ibid.).
Where they honor and worship Him
More importantly, in God’s holy abode, His people honor, worship, and give offerings to Him. King David made this clear:
“I am building a temple to honor the LORD my God. It will be a holy place where my people and I will worship him ... where we will present offerings ... to him continuously, and where we will offer burnt offerings every morning and evening, ... honoring the LORD our God. He has commanded Israel to do this forever.” (II Chr. 2:4, TEV)
Thus, no matter what the chosen ones of God go through in life, they will never forsake their congregational worship service or the “habit of meeting for worship” (Heb. 10:25, Contemporary English Version). They keep in their heart and mind that as long as they “worship him in total commitment” (Josh. 24:14; The Message), their “worship opens doors to all his goodness” (Ps. 34:9, Ibid.).
Where they long to be
Therefore, despite widespread poverty and in the face of criticism by others, the Church Of Christ will continue to be unrelenting in constructing houses of worship. Just like God’s servants back then, Church members today will never cease from giving high regard to these places of worship. For them, there is no better place to be than in His holy temple:
“How I love your Temple, LORD Almighty! How I want to be there! I long to be in the LORD’s Temple. With my whole being I sing for joy to the living God. ... One day spent in your Temple is better than a thousand anywhere else; I would rather stand at the gate of the house of my God than live in the homes of the wicked.” (Ps. 84:1-2, 10, TEV)