When you hear that word, what do you see in your mind’s eye? Nay, what do you feel? What emotions, or lack thereof, come to the surface when you hear the word temple?
Does your mind automatic go to the Mormon temple down the road? Do you bring your temple recommend questions? Does that word bring thoughts of Hindu temples in India? Or the ancient Roman temples of Europe? Perhaps you think about Solomon’s temple from the Bible and wish you were there to watch the sacrifices? Or perhaps you recoil from horror of animal blood dripping off an altar?
Is it a good word or a bad word? A word of pain or a word of joy? A word of the past? Or of the present? Or perhaps even a word of the future, a coming reality?
A single word with multiple meanings. Multiple emotions.
In a dry sense the word means nothing more than a building dedicated for religious practices. The building may be grand or very simple. But it is a building nonetheless. However the emotional symbolism of the word cannot be ignored as it seeks to pull us into a story that bigger than ourselves.
A place where the spiritual world meets the physical world. A place where the gods of the sky come to bask in the worship of their followers. A place to which people run when in trouble or toward which they bow when celebrating victory.
What does that word mean to you? What emotions do you feel? What images come unbidden to your mind? And, perhaps even more importantly, what gods live there? Whose temple is it?