Don’t Believe What Others Say–Check it Out.

Ed, my neighbor next door, has been trying to get his thoughts wrapped around our trip to China. “Where is it that you are going in China?” Ed wanted to know. I told him we are off to the capital, Beijing, as the first stop. I added that it is a very ancient city dating back 3000 years. Ed insisted on getting a piece of paper and making notes.

Ed tends to be suspicious about most things I tell him. Three thousand year old city he wrote in his notes and then muttered, “I’ll see about that one.” Ed decided that if the city dates back all those years, it must be pretty small by now. “Most of them people there must have died of old age by now,” Ed scoffed.

When I told him that Beijing is a metropolis of 20,693,000 people, he wrote it down quick and said “That’s another fact you’ve probably got wrong.” Ed wanted to know what on earth I would do among all those people. He informed me that I would be dealing with something way bigger than a Walmart Super Center. He continued that I could get lost in Beijing since it has a population like a country and never get back to Canada. I told him not to get his hopes up.

I told Ed that the first things on our tour at Beijing are the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. He remembered that not so long ago they arrested demonstrators there and he was thinking that maybe that could happen when I was there. With his hopes up again, he decided that he had enough things to check out on his computer and that he was going home.

Beijing is world renowned for opulent palaces, temples, gardens, walls, tombs, gates, art treasures and universities. It is the political and cultural centre of China. In the Bible, at the time of Jesus, Jerusalem with its temple was the religious, political and cultural center of Jewish people. Paul reminded the people of Athens, “The Lord of heaven and earth does not live in temples built by [human] hands.”

God is much greater than the world’s most renowned cities. Cities glorify the accomplishments of people. They are human constructions limited to human abilities and imaginations. Cities or towns, large or small are subject to the scrutiny of God. In Jesus’ day, people went to the temple at Jerusalem to worship and sacrifice to God. There is no hiding from God behind a temple visit, or an act of worship or an act of sacrifice there.

Jesus spoke of Jerusalem in the Bible this way, “I must keep going to Jerusalem for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.”

No matter where we are, Beijing or Saskatchewan, God wants all people to know that it is in Him that we live and move and have our being. Our glory is that God made the world and everything in it and is the Lord of heaven and earth.


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