There is a small, obscure temple behind our home, that gongs three times a day (6 am; noon; 6 pm). There are many temples in every town (and country) across Japan; they are marked on maps with an interesting emblem –it looks sort of like a backwards swastika. If you see a map of any city, you will see many of these symbols. Here is a map of our immediate neighborhood – the arrow is on the location of our home, and behind it to the left is the temple:
And some of the other temples in the Kansai (western Japan) region. When visitors come to Japan, usually this is where they go. Kyoto, the most famous city in Japan, located about an hour from us, has between 1200 and 1300 Buddhist temples alone (not including Shinto shrines). People go to temples and shrines on special days to pay money, buy talismans, and pray for special requests, such as entrance exams, marriage, children, health, etc. It’s often a cultural visit rather than a religious one.
Today as I was continuing an ongoing study of Genesis, I was looking at verses related to sanctification as my study was comparing Abraham’s sanctification and process of holiness to that of Lot’s. As I was reading 2 Corinthians 6, I was struck by the meaning of this verse:
“For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will live in them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (2 Cor 6:16).
It must have been a huge shock to Paul’s followers, who had grown up with holy temples as places that you GO. Here, he says that holy temples have becomes places to BE. That WE are the temples now; God lives and flows through us and makes us into His temples. Wherever His people are…there is a temple.
The real map, then–in God’s Reality — does not have symbols for Buddhist temples, but it has temple symbols for the locations of where His people live. In neighborhoods across the world, God’s temples are where His people are living and worshipping and being changed by Him.
As I went out walking and praying tonight, I stood up on a bridge overlooking our neighborhood. I asked God – where does He want His temple to be? (We are hoping to rent a slightly larger home in our neighborhood). I asked God to make THIS temple more filled with His glory – a jar of clay shining His light. And as I stood in the darkness, I pleaded with God for there to be MORE temples here … more lights on the hill… more places of refuge for people to come who need hope, healing, and love.
Our home/apartment/room – it is God’s temple. Picturing your neighborhood map with the big X marked on it for God’s temple -really believing this – might just change how we choose to live.