Blog # 457 ...temples of the Lord.
Normally we think of the word temple as applying to a building, a place where God is recognized and worshipped. However by extending our vision and using the word temple to refer to a dwelling place of God it can be applied to all of creation, and in a special way to ourselves and all of humanity, "Are you not aware that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?" (1 Cor. 3:16f; 1 Pet. 2: 5).
Back in 1991 I was in Bryson City, NC living with and caring for our Glenmary Father Frank Gardner who was dying of cancer. I arrived on March 7. He died on August 29th. My time in North Carolina was a very special moment of my life as you might imagine. This week I looked back at some notes I made at that time and will share some of them with you now...
There are several birds at the feeder outside the kitchen window. They have no personal relationship with me. Yet they are related to me, dependent on me for the seed in the feeder and their water nearby. A bird could be domesticated and have a limited relationship with me to recognize me and distinguish me from another person, from the enemy cat, etc. There would be trust toward me and apparent joy when I came out with food and water.
The bird is not capable of entering into a personal relationship with me on the level of another human being, but on a different yet definite level a domesticated bird can relate to me in ways the wild bird does not and for the time being cannot so relate. Stones and plants are not developed enough by their nature for this. For birds and other animals it is possible.
There is a thrush out there now 'working' for its food, picking and scratching grains out of the grass where it has blown at the edge of the cement walk by the feeder. There is no awareness of me, the giver of the grain, and no ability right now to trust me were I to open the door and go out. The wild birds would fly away if I did.
Is there an analogy here between the birds, ourselves, our world, our experiences, and God? As human creatures, we are capable of receiving and being aware of God's love in all creation, and in ourselves. Others have testified to this and we have experienced it to some degree. Yet we seem to be living in an age and in circumstances when a focus on God's presence and love is not sharp nor emphatic in the public arena. It is not the popular way of experiencing human life. We seem to be sharing more in the experience of wild birds rather than living in the house of the Lord, within His temple. It is interesting the word domesticate has its basic root in the Latin word domus meaning house or home. For us to be domesticated would be for us to live at home in God's creation, God's love.
What should be our response? Specific time energy and effort to discover and keep ourselves aware of the reality of what we believe, what we have heard of the Lord from others and from the Lord in prayer and grace, attempts to clarify and make more significant, conscious, regular, and frequent applications of the contents of our faith, that God is real, close, loving, and dependable.
Father, we know that in each of us is a portion of Your wisdom and Your love. You created us all and we are Your children. We are not to be strangers to one another but sisters and
brothers. Dear Father, help us to find You in ourselves and in everyone we meet, and so learn to understand and love each other as You would have us do. Amen!.