Thursday, February 2, 2012

Cleansing The Temple

Each one of us is a temple to his or her god. God is whatever we perceive and believe to be all-powerful, perfect, praiseworthy, and eternal. For many, God is not the Creator of ancient tradition, a conscious being who is interested in everyone and all life; as Judeo-Christians see it.

Many people worship wealth, power, sex, celebrities, or other idols; in spite of all evidence that this is a waste. They invest their love and money in things that vanish or turn to dust. So many people throughout history have testified to the emptiness of this worship that it's a wonder people still fall into the deadly trap of materialism. The problem is that it leads nowhere except to a dead end. It's understandable that the young or unintelligent among us would worship these glittering images, but what of those who should know better?

Money, technology, social position, power, and beauty will not save us from disease, pain, loss, loneliness, and death. These things are an inseparable part of the physical world, our material realm of life. The material universe is an incredibly violent and deadly place. Our beautiful blue marble of a planet is like a flower garden in a steel foundry. Sooner or later something's going to happen.

Reconciling with our Creator will shelter us from pain and destruction. We may experience terrible things, but they won't ruin us or take away our peace of mind. We can actually profit from adversity at times, and learn valuable things. The wisdom and knowledge we gain is engraved on our souls and spirits, and they pass with us through death to the other side of the veil of existence.

Earthly life as we know it is only a stepping-stone; by no means the only life open to us. All the great religions recognize higher and more fulfilling worlds, and seeking them is infinitely more rewarding and productive than idol worship here on earth. These more perfect worlds are our inheritance.

Ask yourself if you believe in the sacred or holy. These words are very much out of fashion, but they describe God and the higher realms. The sacred and the holy can  exist only momentarily in this world. If these words strike us as naive or silly, our temple needs cleansing. We are not awake to the most vital issue of our time. The world as we know it won't last forever, and our days are numbered. Our lives will be over in a mere blink of an eye.

Altering our mode of living to focus on God's laws and the higher realms requires that we cleanse our temple, so to speak. We must cast out our false idols and the childish emotional attachments we have to them. It's not easy, even frightening at times, but it has to be done. Jesus provoked his own crucifixion by cleansing the temple, overturning the tables of the money-changers at Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem. He disrupted the economy, the flow of wealth enjoyed by the corrupt priests there. They really hated Jesus for that, and we also provoke anger and violence by doing this in our own lives. But we have to take the risk. It's the price we pay for escaping this world's sad end.