The day old decision to convert the famous “Hagia Sophia” into a mosque has sparked criticisms from the Christian community. It is indeed a blow to many Christians as the former church was a place of worship for many Orthodox and Catholic Christians in the past before becoming a museum. Many Christian leaders anticipated this decision, citing there would be divisions between Christians and Muslims in the future. But is the church just a building?
In the traditional sense, churches are places of worship where God resides amidst those who call on his name. Worship is often seen as a religious activity that could happen only within those structures. In the modern era, churches have made their presence felt online. Over the past few years, many young Christians have been gathering virtually on the web to connect to find answers to questions that still lay empty with like-minded peers. Churches lay empty as they are converted to houses or shops. Does that mean churches have altogether vanished from societies? The answer is no. It still exists.
Regardless of whether the former cathedral was converted into a mosque or not, the church is more than just a building. Looking from a broader perspective, the people are the “church” and it remains intact, even when they do not gather there like before.
During this Covid-19 pandemic, as many were distraught with the fact that churches being closed could affect their spirituality, God has in turn opened many churches at home. By now, many have realized that God is in the midst of those people who have called on his name. Be it office, school or even a club, He is present where you call on his name.
By turning a disadvantage into an advantage, God has actually brought good out of evil. This is a fine example of how God acts even in the midst of uncertainty. God has opened doors straight to Heaven what no one even thought of. His plans are greater than ours and so are His ways (Isaiah 55:8).
A church is God’s bride. And that means we are His bride. At the right time, he will come back to receive us all into His presence. Till then, it our duty to keep our faith standing firm till the end. Only then will we see his deliverance.
Worship, as Rick Warren says, is not limited to a Sunday alone. We can worship every day when we work, bath, sing, drive etc. Nobody can stop us from worshipping God even if a building simply vanishes away.
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