Monday, February 13, 2012

What exactly does a temple look like?

I know that the image that is always brought up is that our bodies are a temple, and I've always struggled some with that image.  I mean, what exactly does a temple look like?  Typically they are granite or some other stone or concrete material, designed to be large and have stained glass or some other ornate fixtures around them.  They also typically have pillars inside or outside of them, and are designed to hold a host of people in a grand fashion. Even going back to the days of Moses, the temple was in a tent.  My imagery with that would be more of what we today equate to a circus-style tent (being large and made of pieces of other cloth, with a main shaft to hold the center of the tent up).  How in the world am I to make my body into a temple?

1 Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying:  2 “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son.  3He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.   
4 “Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’
5 “But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. 6The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. 7 The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.
8 “Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. 9 So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’10 So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.
11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12 He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless.13 “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
14 “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”
Matthew 22:1-14 (NIV)

One of the big changes for me with that imagery was to change the image that I'm thinking about.  Our pastor a couple of weeks ago brought up the imagery of the wedding feast, with Christ as the Bridegroom standing there welcoming the Church as his Bride.  Timing-wise, it was interesting because we had just celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary, and I had found some of our wedding photos while unpacking from the move.  One of the strongest things that I remember from our wedding was how much we committed to preparing ourselves spiritually, mentally and physically for marriage.  We went to marriage counseling with our pastor, an engaged encounter weekend, and dieted so we would look our best for the wedding.  Honestly, I look at the pictures of myself from our wedding and I believe I looked about the best I have in the past 20 years during that day.  I don't believe it's just because of the dieting, but because of why I was doing those things.  I was dedicated to being prepared for the life experience that I was going through, and preparing myself for the life long journey with the woman of my dreams, the person that God had prepared to be my companion throughout life.

What it comes down to was a question for me:  If I was willing to spend SO much effort for the preparation to spend this life with the person that God has prepared for me, shouldn't I spend as much effort preparing myself for the time when I go home with Christ?  To me, the question of how to prepare myself to be traveling with God should be just as important as preparing myself for an earthly marriage, and the imagery put forth in the scripture works so well.  When I'm invited to the feast in the Kingdom of heaven, will I be wearing wedding clothes and be chosen?  I know that I am not worthy of the feast on my own merit, but by the saving grace of Christ alone.  Even with that, should I not prepare myself as much spiritually, mentally and physically  for the wedding banquet as I did for my earthly wedding?  If I do not, am I putting myself, my own pride, my beautiful bride, or my own self worth ahead of Christ in my heart?

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