Be the Temple
In Luke 21:5-19 people were talking about the temple, its beautiful stones, and its gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus looked at it and said, “The days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.” Jesus is talking about more than just the physical temple in Jerusalem. He’s talking about every temple you and I have. The things we think give structure and order to our lives.
So, what do we do on the day our personal temples fall? Sometimes we’ll look for a scapegoat. We’ll look for someone or some group to blame who doesn’t think, act, or believe like we do. Sometimes we’ll simply give up and walk away in despair. We’re convinced the situation is hopeless. At other times, we’ll become angry, resentful, and fight back. Still others will say this is God’s will or God’s punishment. And many will just look for easy answers, quick fixes; something that will prop up the old structures and the old way of doing things.
None of that is how Jesus tells us to respond. Instead, he tells us to be still, be quiet, don’t be led astray. Don’t allow your life to be controlled or determined by fear. Don’t listen to the many voices that could cause you to run and go after them. Endure, he says. Be faithful, be steadfast, persevere here and now. Jesus is calling us to be present and faithful in whatever circumstances we find ourselves, even if we’re in the middle of our temple ruins.
The place of fallen temples is the place where God, speaking through the prophet Isaiah, declares: “I am about to create new heavens and new earth; the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight. I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and delight in my people; no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it or the cry of distress” (Isaiah 65:17-19).
Those promises are fulfilled through our endurance. Through endurance we gain our lives and our souls. Jesus is calling us to the virtue of stability. We’re to remain fully present and faithful, no matter how uncomfortable life may become. That’s how we discover that God has always been with us. In the changes, chances, and chaos of life. In the pain, the loss, and the disappointment. In the destruction of our temples. Endurance, perseverance, and stability are the ways we offer God the fallen stones of our temples.
Stone by stone God rebuilds our life and restores its original beauty as well as that of the world. Stone by stone a new temple arises from the rubble, and we become the temple of God. We no longer need physical temples. We are the temple. And that’s truly all we need.
Be the Temple