The other day Jen’s children, my grandchildren, were having a conversation about their favorite movies. Someone guessed that the five year old red headed fellow liked the movie “Cars” best of all. “No!” he protested. “Well, what is your favorite movie?” his brother inquired. Without a second thought and minus the “r’s” in the word Lord he said, “The Mountain of the Lord!” Friday night I walked in my house and he and three of his cousins were watching his “favorite” movie. I smiled as I heard him singing along with the soundtrack to the best of his five year old ability “High on a mountain top a banner is unfurled…” once again minus all the “r”s. This little guy is very excited about temples. His favorite Christmas gift this year was a set of Lego type bricks and instructions for building the Salt Lake Temple. He has a map that shows where the 150 temples are located and is currently working at being able to recognize each one. He even knows which temples are under construction. This little boy is very motivated when it comes to temples. Providentially, in just three weeks and not more than fifteen minutes away from his house, this little guy is going to have the great blessing of attending the open house of the 150th temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
There is great excitement in the air about this particular temple for all of us. The story behind this temple is very unique. The Provo City Center Temple is the result of the restoration of a beloved pioneer building that was all but destroyed by an accidental fire only five years ago. Here is a wonderful video sharing the story of its restoration and transformation into a temple of God.
Yesterday I attended an addiction recovery meeting and during the sharing portion of the meeting there was great excitement expressed about attending the temple open house. There were also tears shed by many of the participants over the very real hope of living in recovery and becoming prepared to go inside this temple after the open house doors close.
As I listened, I pondered the on the transformation of the temple. What a powerful metaphor for exactly what is going on in this recovery meeting–the transformation of people! Like the people in the room, during it’s lifetime this building has done much good, but it has also undergone great destructive forces, bring it all but to ruin. Like the people in the room, in the minds of those of us who grew up with this old friend of a building and who watched the flames lap away at our memories of what it had been, there was little hope of recovering it and certainly no thought that it might be transformed into a temple of God. But through Christ Jesus all things are possible and our lovely old Tabernacle has become a magnificent temple of God and this room is filled with people who are becoming, slowly but surely, humble and holy home for the Lord.
Every day we live on earth, we can work on the construction of a temple for the Lord. That temple is us! We can each become a home for the Lord. This new temple is a glance at what God has in mind for me and you. I is also a reminder that this transformation will not be without pain.
I love these words by C.S. Lewis: “Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of–throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself” (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity).
This temple is also a reminder that becoming a temple of God takes time and patience. This building was constructed in the year 1898. It took 118 years to become a beautiful temple. I don’t know about you, but I think creating a temple out of me is going to take time–a long time. Though I desire complete, through and through transformation in myself, I am only able to take baby steps. But the Lord, in His goodness, is helping me see that baby steps are what He requires.
One day my daughter in law Diana walked into the playroom where her three year old little boy (a cousin to the redhead) intently working on a project. The Lincoln Logs were dumped out on the floor and some kind of building was going up. “What are you building, buddy?” she inquired. She was quite taken back by his response. “I’m building a temple of the Lord” (minus the “l” and the “r” of course). As she shared the story with me I imagined the Lord looking down on His little pal, my grandson, doing all he could to build a temple on the playroom floor, and I could imagine the most tender smile on His loving face. As Diana shared this story with me I could almost hear the Lord say, “Nannette, as you try, try, try to live so that you can be a home for Me do you ever feel like a three year old building a temple out of Lincoln Logs? From now on I want you to imagine this same smiling face looking down on you.”
A few week ago Jen and her husband took their kids to see the lights on Temple Square in Salt Lake City. Her redheaded, five year-old, temple lover marched right up the granite steps to the door of the monumental temple and quoted the historic words of Brigham Young, from his favorite movie, of course. The little guy stamped his foot on the ground and said, “Here we will build a temple of our God.”
No matter how old we are or how far along we are in the building of our personal temple it occurs to me that the most important thing we can do is keep building away. And though it may feel like a tinker toy structure on the nursery floor we must remain dedicated and consecrated to the task. We must imagine His beautiful eyes and His loving smile aimed right in our direction, and we must look to Heaven and place our hand on our heart and say, “Here we, you and I, Lord, will build a temple of our God!”
For those of you who are not familiar with or who are curious about temples built by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and their purpose click here .