Beautiful Churches

What makes a church beautiful? Peru and Mexico, in the midst of their poorer cities, still have large cathedrals filled with costly items. The cathedrals in London are awe-inspiring with their massive size and intricate architecture. However, many of the churches in India, and Rwanda are small and plain. Often there are no benches, so the people happily sit on the floor. You won’t see people lining up outside of them to take a tour. If you walked by one of them, you may not even know it was a church, it is so plain. 

The book of Haggai addresses a time when the Jews in Jerusalem were rebuilding their temple. The original one had been burned decades earlier. When they laid the foundation, the older generation wept, having seen the magnificence of the much larger original temple. The younger generation had nothing to compare this to, so they were thrilled with the foundation.

Many of us are impressed by the size and cost of the church. God is not impressed. After all, He designed the entire universe. Even though the second temple had a smaller footprint, God said it would be more glorious then the first one. “The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house. (Haggai 2:9). In what way would it be more glorious?

The answer becomes clear when you realize that the Lord Jesus set foot in this second temple. His glorious presence is what makes a place of worship beautiful. If He is not there, it doesn’t matter how much money was spent on construction or how opulent are its furnishings; it’s just a building. The churches in India and Rwanda, though small and plain, are filled with people who love Jesus and worship Him. 

Many people did not perceive the Lord’s glory because they were looking for some outward feature. But His glory was in the fact that His character was sinless, the perfect balance of grace and truth; thus, the perfect sacrifice for our sin. “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14).

God also said, “And in this place I will grant peace.” (Haggai 2:9). When a person acknowledges that Jesus died to pay the penalty for his sin, and asks Christ into his life, he experiences peace with God. Your gifts to our partners in India and Rwanda have helped them to share this Good News with orphans, widows, and forgotten people. 

Remember, what impresses God isn’t how large or how nice the furnishings are in your church. It’s the gathering of people who love Jesus that makes a church beautiful.

Marlon Furtado

Posted in