Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Lenten Thoughts

image of God 

born of God's breath 

vessel of divine Love 

after his likeness 

dwelling of God 

capacity for the infinite 

eternally known 

chosen of God 

home of the Infinite Majesty 

abiding in the Son 

called from eternity 

life in the Lord 

temple of the Holy Spirit 

receptacle of the Most High 

wellspring of Living Water 

heir of the kingdom 

the glory of God 

abode of the Trinity. 

God sings this litany 

eternally in his Word. 

This is who you are. 

a litany of the person – anonymous trappist monk 

I was given this litany as a high school graduation present. It graced every dorm room wall of mine during college, and now is hanging in my kitchen in my current home. I often forget that it is there. I walk into the kitchen and cook dinner and often pay no attention to what is on the walls. However, when I stop and look at it, it always makes me pause and consider my relationship to God, or rather, His relationship to me.

My favorite two lines that always make me pause are: “temple of the Holy Spirit / receptacle of the Most High”. What a description, to be a temple. It makes me think of the temples and cathedrals that I have seen. Beautiful architecture, a unique sacred feeling, a knowledge of something more infinite and wonderful than oneself. And yet that is what God calls us, a temple. That is a truly beautiful and magnificent thing.

So many people have lived and died on this earth in the records of history that we have. About seven billion people live on the earth at this point in time. When I think about this, I realize first my own insignificance. There are so many people to effect change and influence this Earth, and I am just one small footprint. However, when I think about God, I realize my own significance. Each of us matters to God, which is incredible considering how many people there have been and how many people there will be. Each one of us is written on the heart of God. We are His temple. I, just one of seven billion people, am a temple for God, and He does better work than the grandest and most ancient architecture to be found anywhere. When I think about it that way, it is pretty ridiculous to feel insecure about the way I look or dress. I am a temple of God! That is what matters. It inspires me to take care of my body, and to take care of my heart. I need to take care of God's temple.

Receptacle is a word that I don't often stumble across. I actually went to my dictionary to look up precisely what it means. That is when I discovered that the dictionary was lost, a feat which seems like it should be impossible in a studio, yet somehow occurs quite often. Black holes. But I found it finally, after a sojourn under the bed. I found quite a few other books under there too...anyway, receptacle has a simple definition. According to our Webster's Dictionary, it means a container or holder. That sounds pretty simple and ordinary, and quite unexciting. However, when I consider what I am a receptacle for, it takes on new meaning. I am a receptacle for the Most High. Not the Medium High or the Kind of High. The Most High. In gradations of comparison, there is nothing greater than that. It's easy to skim over the words “Most High”, since they are words commonly found in anyone's vocabulary. Yet when I stop and consider what they really mean, they become simple words of great import.

This Lent, I have struggled with what I decided to give up – complaining. I often feel that it is my right to vent about something that is bothering me. However, complaining doesn't really make me feel better. It usually just leads to more complaining. It brings me down, and it brings down those around me (usually Aaron). It is not a positive way to deal with my feelings. And now that Lent is more than halfway over, I am realizing that it is not my right. It is not my right to be so negative about my life. Temples of God do not stop their worship to complain. They bring sorrows to God and then leave them at His feet. They don't burden those around them with every minute detail of some controversy or internal angst. That's not a way to live in love. That is the receptacle shoving out that which it was supposed to hold.

This Lent, I am learning how to be a temple and a receptacle. Temples and receptacles don't think much about themselves. They exist to serve the One who made them.

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