I’m looking up at the Blockley church tower. It is photographed by thousands of tourists and Father Brown fans each year, and symbolises the permanence of the church building for me. But then I remember that it was rebuilt in the 1730s after the Norman tower fell down in 1725. It looks like it will stand here forever; but nothing is on earth is forever.
In Jerusalem, archaeologists exploring under the Western Wall came across a huge block of stone weighing 600 tons. It turned out to be one of four vast blocks, a master course of stone designed to stabilise the building when the Temple was extended by Herod. The builders thought they were creating a building that would stand for thousands of years. Yet only 70 years later the whole temple was torn down by the Romans as punishment for Israeli rebellion.
As Christians we believe that God’s ‘temple’ was in the person of Jesus, God with us. A building is temporary, even one that stands for aeons. God reminds Job in an Old Testament parable that God was present at the beginning of time, and will be there beyond human existence. Where is the church now that the church building is closed? It is present in the person who has faith in that God/man, Jesus Christ.