Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Elvis has left the Building

Fr. Dale Matson

In this week’s Gospel Passage (John 4:5-42) from the BCP lectionary, Jesus talks at length about the Spiritual realm. He talks about Himself as the water that quenches thirst permanently and brings eternal life. He also talks about doing the will of the Father as His food and the great harvest, not of crops but human souls. In the following passage however he talks about where and how God is to be worshiped.

Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:21-24, NASB).

"Elvis has left the building!" is a phrase that was often used by public address announcers at the end of Elvis Presley concerts to signal that there would be no more Elvis that night. There would be no more encores, he was gone and finally the audience would leave. This phrase has come to mean in a more generic sense that the end has come or put another way, there is no point in staying. When God, Who is a Spirit, is not worshiped in spirit and truth and idolatry and immorality replace spiritual worship, God will not remain.

The prophet Ezekiel in Chapter eight is taken in the spirit to the temple in Jerusalem. There he is shown idolatry and sexual immorality that was being practiced. In spite of warnings and punishment of Judah by God, the once powerful Judah was reduced almost to the point of extinction and yet they continued to descend into immorality. Abominations were taking place in the temple of God. In Chapter 10:18, God’s Spirit left the temple. “Then the glory of the LORD departed from the threshold of the temple and stood over the cherubim.” (NASB).

There is a modern parallel to this. As in Ezekiel’s day there is immorality and idolatry being practiced by a church that is turning its back on tradition and Scripture. How do we know this? We look to see what is being brought into the church. What is unholy is being called holy and blessed. It is bringing things into God’s house as in the days of Ezekiel. His church is being desecrated. False doctrines and pagan living are said to be holy and blessed. And what has God done? He may dwell in His people but His spirit has left these churches. God’s Shekinah glory dwelled in the temple and left the temple, gave life to the church on Pentecost and is leaving these false churches. And what is being removed? The Cross of Christ is being metaphorically and even physically removed because it is an offense. If these things happen in your church, then it is a sign that Elvis has left the building and it is time for you to leave also. Amen.


St. Nikao said...

In Revelation, Jesus said He would remove the lampstand (the light) from the rebellious idolatrous churches who practiced evil.

In Proverbs 4:19-27, darkness envelops and blinds the eyes of those who depart from God's Way.

No wonder reading Rowan Williams, Shori, Spong or the Koran is so futile. Their words are meaningless and do not, cannot bring light or life. They are products of and produce darkness and death.

Only God's true Holy Word and Spirit is Truth, Love, Life and Light and produces righteousness, peace and joy...and freedom from sin.

Dale Matson said...

St. Nikao,
I agree with your reference that Christ has removed the lampstand from the idolatrous churches. People must be careful what they do in God's house and in His name.