This is the last in 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’ve been publishing the remaining reflections through the rest of this week. The theme for this week’s reflections has been: “The Temple reminds Community of Christ that God is with us, working through us to transform the world.”
1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 6:15, 19
(excerpted; fresh translation)
Do you realize
that you, collectively, are God’s temple?
It’s true—because God’s Spirit lives in you all.
God’s temple is sacred;
and therefore you all,
because you are God’s temple,
are a sacred community.
Do you realize
that your bodies
are parts of Christ’s body?
Do you realize,
each of you,
that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit,
which God has given to be in you?
A temple. A body.
Both metaphors have a basic meaning in common:
Temples and bodies are both places where spirit/Spirit lives.
What is different about the meanings each metaphor communicates?
I feel that the metaphor of the body (we are the body of Christ; God’s Spirit lives in our bodies) better captures the idea that God lives in us in order to work through us. Bodies are active. They move. They go places. They do things. They make things. They speak. They reach out. They touch people.
Temples, unlike bodies, do not move, or act, or speak; they just sit there. But because God lives in them, temples are sacred. Perhaps, then, the metaphor that we are a temple better communicates the idea that we must be treated—all of us—as sacred, as beings of great worth, requiring reverence and care.
That’s what I see in these metaphors.
What about you? What do you see?