Friday, August 1, 2008

temple dedication

The title of this post is all lower case because I'm not talking about the event coming up in 23 days (which happens to be my birthday-- did I tell you?) where Pres. Monson (presumably) will dedicate the temple for ordinance work. No, I mean the dedication that individual saints have shown in working at the various kinds of jobs there are to do for the open house.

Keri and I worked in the hosting center (the cultural hall of the new stake center) where invitees come after they've completed their tours of the temple. Keri placed cookies on trays, and I filled and filled and filled ice water containers. Before we started, one of the sister who coordinates the hosting volunteers said that we would feel a spirit of unity and love in serving cookies and ice water. I was just a tiny bit doubtful that such simple service could lead to such feelings. But, of course, I was wrong. I think that even the simplest acts of service to others can lead to our feeling closer to that God who created us all-- especially in conjunction with the opening and dedication of His house.

I've posted elsewhere that there is a spirit of missionary work brooding over the Magic Valley during this eventful time. What I think I mean by that is that members of the church, and others, who have been anticipating the opening of the temple have focused their prayers, their faith, and their efforts on making this occasion special and spiritual for themselves, their families, and--importantly--their friends and neighbors. Heavenly Father has heard those prayers and is pouring out a blessing upon the heads of the saints and on his children in all walks.

The temple, with its upwardly-jutting spire, leads us symbolically and literally towards heaven. In this temple, for example, the crowning ordinance room--the sealing room--is located under--within, really--the main spire of the temple. In making ourselves ready for the temple, we focus on the principles and ordinances that we believe are essential to unreserved happiness in this life and salvation in the next.

Anyway, enough theology for a minute. What I started out to post about is the dedication of the volunteers in the open house. After filling ice water for a couple of hours, I served a shift as a tour guide. In going from the stake center to the temple and back again I passed dozens of friends and neighbors--some members of the church and some not--who served as ushers, support staff (who clean up during the day), hosts, hostesses, security people, parking attendants, and missionaries. Every one of them was giving his/her very best effort to making the open house experience on this day peaceful, meaningful, and spirit-filled for the invitees. In every meeting that I attended there were prayers offered asking the Lord to bless those who attend with a portion of His spirit.

I conducted 5 tours through the evening and felt the spirit in each one. In each case I made eye contact with one or two or three members of the tour group and saw that they felt the spirit of the place. I did not have any particularly unusual experiences to speak of, but in each tour I felt as those simple truths were made evident in the minds of those who attended.

What is the spirit of the temple, then? That may be the subject of another post, another day.

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