We can sometimes accept that we are Temples of the Holy Spirit. But it can be hard to accept that about others. This short letter demonstrates this:
I know God supposedly loves everybody, but he never met my sister!
Arnold, age 8, Nashville.
It is hard to see Jesus in each other. We at times destroy and disfigure even the temple of ourselves.
I offer this short reflection on the Decalogue/The 10 Ways/The 10 Commandments and on Jesus in the Temple. If we look in all of Hebrew Scripture, we find that there are really 613 laws - but they basically fall under two categories, Love of God and Love of Neighbor.
God, there have been times when we have misused your name. Forgive us.
More than this, we have made other things in our lives more important than you. Forgive us.
We no longer have society demanding a day of Sabbath. Help us to realize that this was a gift from you to us. You know that we need refreshment and rest, for without it we become less and less productive and burn out. We need time to sit and study, be in worship, prayer, and fellowship. Forgive us.
Our parents or those who have raised us may not have been perfect. But we thank you for the good that they gave, and we are working on forgiving where they trespassed against us. We strive to honor them and make sure they are safe, even if we are unable to have much contact with them. Forgive us.
Lord, we have had murders in our community. Help us to be a healing presence. Forgive us.
We have abused our bodies. Help us to look at each other as temples of the Holy Spirit, to respect each other's dignity. Forgive Us.
We have stolen other people's words, ideas, materials, or even simple things, such as a pen from work or an item at the grocery store that did not get rung up properly. Forgive us.
There have been times when we have stretched the truth or left out words to twist a story to get our way or get others into trouble. Forgive us.
That 10th one really is hard for us today, as wonderful new technology is always making life more enjoyable and easier. It is almost our second nature in our culture to covet all that is around us. Much of it can be used for good, but it can make us empty consumers. Forgive us.
Now travel with me to the Christian Scripture with Jesus in the Temple. The Passover is near. Jesus makes his way up to Jerusalem. He goes into the temple; and are people praying or meditating on God's sacred scripture? Not in this scene. People are selling all sorts of animals for sacrifice and exchanging money. Jesus, with righteous anger, drives them out and then confuses those there by saying, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."
In our hindsight we can see what you were saying. There are times when we turn our churches into marketplaces. At our best we do this to share our love and your love with others. Forgive us.
For you came to show us that in each of us lives a temple. The temple of the Holy Spirit is in each of us. It burns brighter when we call on you, Jesus, and follow God's commandments, which were not to punish us but to lead us to life with you and each other. Forgive us and Bless. Amen.
- Wagner-Pizza is the rector and provost at Trinity Episcopal Church, 844 W. Fourth St.