Thursday, October 25, 2012

October 25, 2012

When they finally got the Temple up in Jerusalem, the story goes, it sounded as though Solomon had done the whole thing. He cut stone, paneled cedar, gilded with gold, and spoke the words of dedication. Other parts of the story list the tens of thousands of people who lifted the heavy stone, cut the trees, set the gilding, and showed up to sing hymns of praise to God. Either way you look at it, it’s a big job to get a temple built.

Building the Temple marked a culmination of desire: to have a place to call holy, where divinity could be met and faith could be understood. Funny thing, though, God didn’t set a limit to the threshold of holiness. People would argue for generations about where God could be found. In Jerusalem, outside Jerusalem; in a temple, in a place of nature’s beauty: people got hot under the collar about it.

I guess we do, too. That’s not just an archaic argument. Are you religious or spiritual?

I believe there’s not a necessary division between religion and spirituality. Religion without spirituality can be dull, rigorous and empty. Spirituality without religion can be self-serving, unfocused and ungenerous.

Put them together, though, and there’s lively worship, meaningful conversation and significant outreach. If I have anything to learn from Solomon’s ancient temple, it’s that I need a place to learn about God with trusted friends, and that God is wilder than any cage might contain.

Blessings of studied faith and surprising spirit to you,

The Rev. Dr. Catherine Faith MacLean

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