For about an hour this morning, I left the world and walked into the temple--and was struck again by the grounding beauty I can experience there.
Struck again by a beauty that's woven partly out of sights, yes, and partly out of the texture of words, but mostly out of the way promises and blessings fuse together into a covenant in the presence of God.
In this age of 24/7 electronic commentary and creative deconstruction, of course, the temple can be difficult to explain. Because contemporary culture has totemized transparency, many find it deeply alarming that we limit access to our temples (like ancient Israel did). Because contemporary culture places so much value on talk, it's common to think of silence within a religion as sinister rather than sacred.
But it wasn't contemporary culture that I was thinking about as I walked out of the temple and back into the world this morning. No, I was thinking thoughts that are positively neolithic.
Feeling awe for the fertility of and on the earth.
Treasuring the deep belonging of tribe.
Acknowledging the presence of the dead.
I like the internet. I like democracy, even when it's turned up way too loud. I like pulling my lunch out of the refrigerator and microwaving it, then skimming the headlines from halfway across the world only to find an article that quotes my wife.
But I wish sometimes that more of the people who fill this wonderful, whirling modern world of ours could grasp that some things, like our temples, deserve a place in our time but outside our time's assumptions.