This is part of a series of daily reflections for Advent. I wrote enough reflections to last an entire week after the Fourth Sunday of Advent; since Christmas Eve fell on a Monday this year, I’m publishing the remaining reflections through the rest of this week. The theme for this week’s reflections is: “The Temple reminds Community of Christ that God is with us, working through us to transform the world.”
Ezekiel 43:1-7; 47:1-12
(excerpted and paraphrased; fresh translation)
My guide led me to the east gate of the temple’s outer court.
Looking out, I saw God’s glory moving in from the east.
It made a sound like the roar of floodwaters
and lit up the earth.
The Lord’s glory came in through the east gate
and filled the temple.
I heard a voice from inside the temple say:
“This is the place where I plant my feet.
I will live here, among the people of Israel, forever.”
From underneath the temple, water began to flow.
It ran across the outer court and out through the east gate.
My guide led me east, away from the temple,
following the water’s path.
The water kept rising—first as high as my ankles,
then my knees, then my waist, and higher still,
until it had become a deep, rushing river.
We stood on the riverbank.
There were suddenly many trees lining both sides of the river.
My guide told me:
“This river will flow down into the Dead Sea
and turn the saltwater into freshwater.
Every land through which the river flows
will teem with animal life;
every body of water into which the river flows
will be healed and filled with fish.
Wherever the river flows, everything will live.
Along its banks, all kinds of fruit trees will grow.
Their leaves will never wither,
and they will produce fruit all year round.
Their fruit will be good to eat,
and their leaves will be useful as medicine.”
I hold in my mind an aerial view of the Temple in Independence. World Conference is in session; and although I can’t see it because I’m hovering in the air outside the building, I know that inside the Temple sanctuary, a worship service is being held. Members of Community of Christ from all over the world are gathered there.
I hear a sound like the roar of floodwaters. I look east and see an enormous, shining cloud hovering low above the earth, moving towards the Temple. The cloud envelopes the Temple, then passes inside through the roof and walls. The Temple begins to glow.
The great bronze doors open, and the crowd of worshippers inside the Temple stream out of the sanctuary, down the outer steps, across the plaza designed to look like a world map. As I watch, the crowd morphs into a literal stream, a river of healing water. The river continues to gush out of the Temple, seemingly inexhaustible. It floods the entire area surrounding the Temple, then keeps flowing out in every direction.
Make us, Community of Christ, a healing flood,
flowing out from the Temple to lands near and far.
Wherever we go, may life flourish.