A few weeks ago, one of my friends asked me why the temple was so important to me. Or why I was grateful I'd made the decision to receive my endowment. I can't really remember what I'd said, because sometimes, I don't know why I love the temple so much. I have to work really hard to leave all my stress at the door. That was probably the biggest surprise for me in attending the temple, I had to work and practice leaving my stress in the parking lot (a good kind of exercise).
Anyways, today I had to give a lesson in church about Isaiah's prophecies about the temple and the gospel being an ensign. Being a teacher in my ward is hilarious because I clearly am the least experienced person there when it comes to scriptural knowledge. There are a lot of people with A LOT more experience. Anyways, they are very patient, and they whip out their ipads and hyperlink to all sorts of things, and they can always recall scriptures I try to reference on the fly (without knowing the citation). It's really awesome actually.
Anyways, I really feel lucky to be able to ask them whatever I want. So, today we were talking about the temple, and how Isaiah says the temple will be "a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and a covert from the storm and from rain."
Isaiah's imagery seemed double gorgeous to me this morning. I like Isaiah because he can make a comparison of God's love very immediate. So here we have him comparing temple worship to sitting in the shade when you are dying of heat, or a place to hide-out until a storm is over. And temple worship is really all about learning about the nature of God, and our relationship with him—and so learning about these things is a kind of literal and metaphorical refuge.
Then, we talked for a minute about how the temple is related to Isaiah's prophecy of Christ raising an ensign to all nations.
And the whole time, I was thinking how are physical bodies are temples too. We usually talk about bodies as temples in terms of what we put into our bodies, but we can provide spiritual refuge and relief to anyone who we encounter: in the street, at the grocery store, at work. Our whole lives, and the process of following & becoming like Christ can become a kind of holiness to the Lord. Not just for us, but for anyone we encounter. Anyone. And then we are back the purpose of temples: so that everyone may know more clearly the love of God. And then we become a living ensign! (or banner! or standard! or rallying point!) of Christ's love!
One time I asked one of my friends if she thought the temple was a gorgeous as I thought it was. She's not Mormon, and I was really curious if my bias about it's structure was religious. She said, No, I love it. It's not just you. It's so beautiful.
All of its architecture is dedicated to the Lord. Holiness to Him. And I think anyone can sense that kind of holiness because it is love. Anyways, when we think of ourselves as temples, it's not about physical beauty, but our ability to to provide that amazing kind of shade (which is the love of God).
Anyways, I hope I can do that a little better every day.
And a scripture because I love it:
[...] The angel spake unto me saying: Look! And I looked and beheld the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms. And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yeah, even the Son of the Eternal Father! Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw?
And I answered him, saying: Yea, it is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things.
And he spake unto me, saying: Yea, and the most joyous to the soul. —1 Nephi 11: 19-23
I wanted this post to be prettier. It is composed very gorgeously in my head. But, it's not as pretty here. Hopefully, it just makes a little bit of sense.