Saturday, July 16, 2016

Fences and Fountains

We just got back from vacation. I really wanted to be able to think about things during this trip without any distractions. That happened..sort of.
Last night I went for a walk with Jackson -- just me and him -- as Melissa and Matthias stayed in the hotel room to rest. Jackson had been particularly disobedient yesterday, so I wanted to spend time with him and tell him (again and again) that disobedience is sin and that Jesus is God and He can take away his sin.
So off we were on a little walk around Logan, one of our favorite places. We were coming up to the temple. It's very old and unique looking. It was dedicated in 1884, so it goes way back.
As we approached the temple I really took notice of the fence that's built around it. I've seen it before, but I had never focused on the fence like I was last night. Through it I could see all kinds of people coming out of the temple -- the men with their white dress shirts and ties, the women with their ankle-length dresses.
It really hit me in that moment what that fence is for. It's there to keep the unworthy people like me out of there. It's to block out the riffraff. Practically, it's not there for that I'm sure -- anybody could hop that fence. Rather, the fence is a symbolic message of what the temple represents: it's the house of the Lord to those people.
There I was pushing a stroller outside of the fence wearing shorts and a t-shirt (coincidentally, the shirt had a urine stain on it from my disobedient two-year old...he wasn't being disobedient when that happened, though, it was a fluke); if I was considered unworthy, I was certainly dressed for the part in that moment.
What a thought! A fence of iron stands to this day, keeping "worthy" people separated from "unworthy" people; keeping the religious from the irreligious; keeping celestial-bound saints from bottom-dweller sinners. The whole moment was so blissful and heretical at the same time.
God then made me realize how I'm thankful that Christ tore down the man-made fences. Ephesians 2 says, "For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by having put to death the enmity."
As we walked along, I spotted a woman in jeans on the other side of the fence. As it turns out (and I should have known), there's a common area for the common people. There were lots of flowers and a few people there taking pictures of the building as though there aren't enough online already.
So Jackson and I went in and sat down near the fountain. It was a teachable moment, regardless of how much my little guy understands. My mind went to John 4. I asked Jackson what the fountain was and he said "Fountain."
So I told him that Jesus is like that fountain except He brings about living water. I told him that if he takes what Jesus has to offer, he'll never thirst again and he'll always be satisfied.
[Blank stare. Points at fountain.]
We're still a ways off from him being able to cognitively understand the gospel. But I was blessed by the conversation anyway.
And it was a good time to pray again that God would tear down religious temples brick-by-brick. He has put to death the enmity between people; He destroyed the temple of stone and fulfilled the temple in His resurrected body; He's the one who unites all people in Himself without any accessories. Praise be to Him.

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