Written by Michael Fones
Sunday, 09 November 2008 15:15
This article on CNN.com relates a brawl that broke out between Armenian and Greek Orthodox monks in Jerusalem. The reason has to do with tension over a site that is maintained by several different Christian denominations, including Roman Catholicism."We were keeping resistance so that the procession could not pass through ... and establish a right that they don't have," a young Greek Orthodox monk with a cut next to his left eye told the AP.
I am sure many Orthodox and Armenian Christians are saddened over Christians fighting one another. Others may feel the resistance was justifiable. The site in question is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the location of Jesus' tomb.
When we Christians behave this way, it is as though Jesus was never raised. He might as well have died and remained in the tomb. How on earth will others be brought to Jesus, the Prince of Peace, the Savior of all humanity, if His followers can't see Him in each other? How can I claim to be a disciple having the mind of Christ if a place, no matter how holy, is more important than another Christian who is a living temple of the Holy Spirit? I do not intend to embarrass my Orthodox brothers and sisters; God knows Roman Catholics do more than our share of harm as we vilify one another over liturgical preferences, architecture, prudential judgments carefully weighed, etc.
On this day when we Roman Catholics remember a building, the Lateran Basilica in Rome - the Pope's Cathedral - let us not fail to remember St. Paul's words:
Do you not know that you are the temple of God,
What will God do to the person who punches out a temple of the Holy Spirit - and gives the body of Christ a black eye?
and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
If anyone destroys God’s temple,
God will destroy that person;
for the temple of God, which you are, is holy