He made the Bronze Altar thirty feet long, thirty feet wide, and ten feet high. 2 Chronicles 4:1 (MSG)
In my worship community we don’t think much about altars any more. Most of the churches I’ve attended have called the front of the church “the altar” but it’s more of a general term. There is no physical altar. I have mixed feelings about that.
One one hand, God’s message tells us that Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice “once for all.” In that sense, it’s a good thing to remember that there is nothing else I can do to add to what Jesus did. His sacrifice paid the price for my sins. Finished. End of story. There’s nothing I can do to add to it. The absence of a physical alter reminds me that there is nothing else I can add to what has already been done.
On the other hand, I recognize that my journey is a process of dying to self, and sacrificing my own desires for those of Jesus. The act of building an altar, or having an altar, is a phyical and metaphorical reminder that while Jesus has made the ultimate sacrifice, I must daily lay down my life, take up my cross, and follow in His footsteps.Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and paullew