The Temple of Our Souls

The Daily Selectionary

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Today’s Readings:

Daily Office Readings:  (am) Psalm 20, 21:1-7(8-14) (pm) Psalm 110:1-5(6-7), 116, 117

Isa. 4:2-6; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Luke 21:5-19

 

Eucharistic Readings:  Psalm 147:1-12; Isa. 30:19-21, 23-26; Matt 9:35-10:1,5-8

 

 

The Temple of our Souls

Christopher Hodges

 

Luke 21:5-19

The Destruction of the Temple Foretold

5 When some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, he said, 6‘As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.’

Signs and Persecutions

7 They asked him, ‘Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?’ 8And he said, ‘Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, “I am he!”* and, “The time is near!”* Do not go after them.

9 ‘When you hear of wars and insurrections do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately.’ 10Then he said to them, ‘Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; 11there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues; and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven.

12 ‘But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. 13This will give you an opportunity to testify. 14So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance; 15for I will give you words* and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict. 16You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. 17You will be hated by all because of my name. 18But not a hair of your head will perish. 19By your endurance you will gain your souls.

            There are no words to explain the feeling I get when I am in the presence of an ornate cathedral or basilica, or any place of worship within the tradition of any faith whether it be Christian, Muslim or Judaic.  There is something about the architecture and the smells and iconic art.  I am lifted in such a spiritual awe of all that is around me.  The love I have for my faith tradition is how it involves all of the five senses.  I see the beauty of the place around me.  I can touch the candle as I light it and feel the beads of the Holy Rosary on my fingers.  I smell the incense hovering above the altar.  The taste of the bread and the wine at Mass pulls me into that presence with Christ.  Hearing the chords and melodies trumpeting from the great pipe organ sets the tone for it all.  We have all this in place because we cannot in fact see God, but He uses our created bodies, every part of them, to take us to Him so that we can have our opportunity to experience a little bit of His Heaven on our Earth.

            Jesus could have been speaking of the temple to his disciples in this Gospel as a foreshadowing of what is to come to His body on the cross.  There was eventually going to come a time that he would be broken beyond all recognition and he would no longer be in physical reach of his followers.  Just like the beauty of the temple in front of them that one day would be razed, so would Jesus be.  Jesus was God walking on Earth.  But there would come a time when he would go back to his Heaven.  His brief bout with the human condition, taking up these weak bodies of ours, was to give us a sense of our future when we would no longer walk on this Earth.  We now have His memory etched in stones in our cathedrals.  His blood is ink in the scriptures passed down from generation to generation.  His voice is the innocence of the boy’s choir that touches our souls.

            Jesus warned that many would come in His name to try to take all of this away from us.  But as long as the Temple is in our hearts and in our minds and on our lips, we will always have the living Icon of love walking on the Earth.

Daily Scripture readings are taken from The Episcopal Church Lectionary and can be read in full at www.satucket.com/lectionary.  NRSV translation of the Holy Scriptures.  Please feel free to pass along this email to whomever you feel may benefit from it. – Christopher Hodges  2010   email: ChristopherHodgeWriter@gmail.com

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