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Columns

October 17, 2009

What about a haunted church?

Recently a network aired a show about an old church in New York that was rumored to be haunted. I watched for several minutes until other things moved me away. Hmm... a haunted church. Aside from the curious idea of some invisible (mostly), lingering, lonely, perhaps sorrowful (malevolent?) ghosts hanging around anyplace, here is a non-sequitur.

The church of Christ is by definition the haunt of Jesus Himself. He said, "Where two or three are gathered in My name, there I am in the midst." One wonders if those promoting this media event sense the irony in their preoccupation.

The show prompted me to reconsider what is a misconception and a myth. The church is in fact the Body of Christ, the local assembly, and not an edifice built by men. Thus in reality the "church" the ghost hunters examined was just a quaint arrangement of brick.

A gathering of believers, sometimes called disciples or children of God, is the real dwelling place of God. The Holy Ghost, as the scripture calls him, rules as Lord of the church. In a very real sense he "inhabits" and "visits" the assembly as the invisible, supernatural person that he is.

Would Christ be content to dwell with a distracting spirit (since all glory must go to him and scripture commands order, not chaos in the church) or is he, in this case, simply unaware or incapable of removing the distracting "spirit"?

The Apostle Paul was inspired to write, "For we (the Church) are a temple of the living God; just as God said, I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God and they shall be My people.'"

Lately it seems that many are indifferent to his presence. Will the Creator/Redeemer who saves through the suffering of the blood of the cross be pushed aside by a suspicious shifting of a curtain or the unusual flicker of a candle?

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