Living in the Shadow of the Temple

This week, my mind went back to a few very different places in North America, places that could not be more different. The old town squares in western United States and Montreal, Canada.

Christ Church Cathedral is an Anglican parish in Montreal. The building was completed in 1859. The top of the steeple is over 229 feet above the ground. The impressive church is over 200 feet long and over 100 feet wide.1 The steeple in Montreal is high enough that it casts a shadow. Because a modern underground mall runs under the church, many businesses operate in the shadow of the Christ Church Cathedral.

I find the thought of retail and service businesses operating under the church of Christ interesting. This is not temple trade, but is trade where the church is a visible element. Our society would be better off if we were able to see the shadow of the Christ Church falling on businesses of the land. The shadow of the church on commerce means business would be conducted in an ethical manner, where treating people right, where doing the right thing is more important than making record profits.

I enjoy exploring some of the small towns that date back to the time of the Civil War. There is something exciting about being in a place that has history and lots of history. Perhaps, that is why I enjoyed a tourist trip to Montreal, Canada so much. There is a tremendous sense of history in Montreal. Unfortunately, most of us cannot live in an area with the rich history of Montreal, so we settle for what we can find close to us, older western American towns.

Some of the older towns I've visited in the western United States have a town square. While each town may have a different town square, I will describe what you might see in town square.

The courthouse is located on a full city block of land. Courthouses are often brick or stone. The stone might even be imported stone. The courthouse is often a large building, with a rotunda-styled domed top. The courthouse towers over the buildings. Inside the courthouse one may expect to find legal courts, town offices, and relics from the past, such as old guns or old photographs. The courthouse might have a police station and holding cells. The courthouse usually has entrances facing each direction north, south, east and west.

A street goes around all sides of the courthouse block. The street is paved with bricks. The street may be much wider than the streets in many other areas of the town. Angle parking might be available on each side of the street. There might also be parallel or angle parking in the middle of the street.

Most of the businesses in the town are brick buildings across the street from the courthouse. The businesses face the courthouse. All business conducted in those businesses takes place facing the courthouse. That makes you think twice about shoplifting, when you realize the police station, the jail and the court is just across the street, in the courthouse. I think of the courthouse in the town square when I read Numbers 2:1 - 2 (Good News Bible) The LORD gave Moses and Aaron the following instructions. 2When the Israelites set up camp, each man will camp under the banner of his division and the flag of his own clan. The camp is to be set up all around the Tent.

The lives of the children of Israel centered around the Temple. God is calling us to live lives that revolve around the Temple, lives that are within the shadow of the Temple. Our business is to be conducted facing the Temple of the living God. Our coming and going is to be around the living Temple, Jesus Christ.

The reason is found in Luke 4:18-19 (Good News Bible). In this text Jesus applies the words of the prophet Isaiah to Himself. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has chosen me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed 19and announce that the time has come when the Lord will save his people.

When people's lives revolve around the temple, the living Temple of God, Jesus Christ, society will see some of the following:

  • Those who feel poor, will hear good news. Jesus Christ goes to the poor. The gospel, the news of a gracious God who cares more about people than bank accounts is heard by the poor. Through the labors of our hands to reduce ravages of homelessness and hunger, poor feel the good news – that there is hope. Things can get better. Life really is worth the struggle, because people care. There are impoverished queer people. Many youth who live on the streets are queer or questioning young people. These young people need our practical assistance.

  • Those who feel prisoners, captives, will find liberty. Closet doors are opened! The captives are liberated by the gospel, no longer feeling they must hide in the closet, hoping an angry God and angry people of God will not see them. Knowing God's love is real, they can venture out of the closet and into freedom. The doors of the slavery of the closets in this fear-tainted world are blown off their hinges by the radical, inclusive love of Jesus Christ.

  • Those who feel blind, find sight. Those blinded by the fear of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia are able to see beyond their fears. Because their eye sight is healed, they are able to look past differences in sexuality or gender identity and see people's hearts.

  • Those who are oppressed are no longer oppressed. There are times when we are called upon as people of God to lobby governments, legislators, and service organizations to end oppression based on color, race, ethnicity, country of origin, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identification.

The call is to live your life within the shadow of the Temple and do your business facing the Temple.


1Statistics.” Christ Church Cathedral. (internet web site URL

1 1 1 1