I have several things I want to share about my evening in the temple last night.
When I felt compelled to write this post, I immediately went to Elder Bednar's most recent talk, where he shared that not only can we discuss the temple, but, with reverence, we should do so. Here's one snippet from that talk:
The temple is the house of the Lord. Everything in the temple points us to our Savior, Jesus Christ. We may discuss the basic purposes of and the doctrine and principles associated with temple ordinances and covenants.
President Howard W. Hunter counseled: “Let us share with our children the spiritual feelings we have in the temple. And let us teach them more earnestly and more comfortably the things we can appropriately say about the purposes of the house of the Lord.”
It is around those teachings and principles I hope to share some thoughts I had tonight.
My dad's best friend passed away a few months before my dad did in 2018. It was about a year after this family friend passed away that I had a distinct prompting that I needed to get his temple work done. My mom reached out to his daughter who eagerly gave permission and we went forward to pursue that endeavor. Tonight I went to the temple to complete other work, but when I saw his name in my stack of papers, I decided to see if perhaps I could get someone to complete the baptism and confirmation on behalf of this dear friend. Multiple people helped me through the process and ultimately a young 11-year-old boy, a perfect stranger to both me and my friend, yet a brother in the gospel of Jesus Christ, completed this vicarious and holy work. I was able to observe near the baptismal font and I was just so happy and grateful for what was being done, not just what was being done that I had requested, but in general, the work being done not only in that temple, but temples all over the world. And not just the ordinance work, but the spiritual work being done in all those participating as they live and strive in a certain way to enable them to participate in such important and sacred family history and temple work.
When that was done, I went to complete an endowment session. I changed into my white dress and thankfully before I got out of the dressing room, I realized I had forgotten to button the back of my dress. It's one of those loops that slide over a button and it is on the middle and top of the back of my dress. So I stood in the locker area for several minutes awkwardly reaching my arms behind my head trying to get this little loop over this little button. Thankfully, after not too long, a temple worker came over to see if she could help. I was so so grateful and happily accepted the offer. She was gracious and we quietly laughed, then she guided me to my next location. Two things kept going through my mind after that little incident: I need to get a different temple dress so I can dress myself! :) And I'm just so grateful she was there to help and did so in such a humble, sweet way.
As I was making my way up the stairs, I heard the song, "This is the Christ." I turned to see who had accidentally brought their iPhone to a temple session and accidentally turned on some music. But everyone else was walking reverently as though nothing had happened. It wasn't too long before I realized, 'Oh, just me. I'm the only one who can hear this song.' So usually I might just say a song was stuck in my head or something, but I'm really trying to stress how this was something more. It was definitely audible and I just took it in.
I enjoyed the session and time meditating and praying in the celestial room. Though I also paid diligent attention to the spirit and experience of the endowment, the song did remain in my head the entire time. I had decided I would study the lyrics when I got home and other than that, I honestly hadn't thought too much about it. As I was walking back to change afterward, I went to pull a mint out of my pocket, and two or three spilled out (I like to really load up at the temple... Just me? :):) Well, as I bent down to hurriedly pick up my scattered mints, two other sisters in white beat me to it and my mints were back in my possession within 5 seconds flat. Not too huge of a deal, right? Except the song...
"This is the Christ" seemed to amplify in my mind in that moment and the meaning seemed to instantly distill as well.
THIS is the Christ. The body of Christ. Working as one. For His purposes. His work and His glory!
All the people who worked on the beautiful grounds, who cleaned impeccably the night before, who sat at the reception desk and guided me, who held open the door, who dedicated their lives to strive to be pure so they could be at the temple, who serve the young men and young women, who serve as young men and young women, who are ordinance workers, who work in the offices, who play the organ, who help people with their buttons, who help people pick up their dropped mints...... ALL of it. THIS is the Christ. The Holy One. The Anointed One. The Atoning One. Inviting US to become Holy. To be anointed. To receive His atonement. To become ONE with Him AND with each other. On heaven and on earth. On earth as it is in heaven. Piercing the perceived barriers and becoming ONE with the unseen. Becoming one in love and service and charity and power. Becoming one in purpose. Becoming one with the Holy One as we love and serve as He does: one by one. One moment, one need, one person at a time.
As we serve, study, do family history and temple work, serve in our callings, and strive to live as the saints He has called to prepare the world for His return, we can easily get lost in the tasks. We can easily get focused on getting everything done. Things done frequently can easily become mundane. But if we seek Him in the eyes of the people we strive to help or the outstretched hands of people helping us, if we seek Him in all of those moments, the collective result is HIM. Evidence of His truth and His light shines in the hearts and lives of those whose hearts and lives have been touched by Him.
Jesus Christ includes His followers because He commissioned, "Come follow me."
He is truly in our midst!