On the front corners of my home altar, there are blue ram heads made of plaster. My morning meditations usually begin with me facing the East, placing the palm of each hand on one of those blue heads and then inclining my own.
I did that this morning, after two weeks of traveling about. Very happy to be back to my regular morning routine but holding in my heart the memory of the temple at Palmyra that was recently leveled by the Islamic State crowd.
As I took that first deep breath to greet the rising of the Sun, there was a stern voice at my shoulder.
The plain is not empty.
The way is clear.
Build the Temple.
Oh, dear. I almost lifted my hands from the ram heads and turned to speak. But I held my ground and thought on the flattened landscape where that old temple had stood.
Temple? Was it still a temple if no one sang the praise-songs? Or offered up the appropriate sacrifice? Is it still a temple if no one is there, serving the Divine Beings that were once housed and worshipped there?
The Divine ones that I serve seem to be less interested in historic monuments that are chiefly tourist attractions and more interested in humans remembering and honoring Them, even if the honoring isn’t what They experienced back in the day.
It doesn’t mean that the destruction of the temple shouldn’t be avenged, that justice doesn’t apply in this situation. But the Divines want more from those of us who serve Them than a slavish devotion to the trappings of the past. They expect us to be the flesh-and-blood congregations that keep Them vital.
Time to build the new temples for these new times.