Volume 6 - Issue 12
DECEMBER - 2008
The First Temple
Christmas, the most special time of the year, is when we remind ourselves of the birth of Lord Jesus into the world. Christ brought with Him a new dispensation of Light and Truth to humanity through His Love and Teachings. Possibly His most profound, yet unheeded, divine teaching is ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is within you.’ Jesus urged us to look within ourselves for the inherent divinity in us and experience the beauty of a heaven nestled within our hearts. We often spend time concentrating on a God as an entity separate from ourselves when in reality He can’t get any closer than where He always resides.
Hundreds of thousands of years ago, God asked one of His chosen saints to find a suitable place where He could build the First Temple. God stipulated that the local people should be virtuous and good, and that they should be in contemplation of the divinity within themselves, thereby, keeping the temple sacrosanct.
The saint did not search for long when he found a village where all seemed peaceful. The place was immaculate, the well was clean, people were polite and civil to one another, and the beggars received enough to eat from kind strangers. It seemed the perfect place to build the first temple. The disciple went to the Lord to say that he found a place, after all.
Of course, the Omniscient Lord knew what was missing in the seemingly perfect place, but He wanted to teach a lesson to His devotee. God lovingly told his disciple, “Look closely, child, can you not see that there is an absence of love in that small village? Though everything seems fine on the surface, I find no love within the hearts of those villagers.”
And sure enough, when the disciple returned and made a deeper inspection, he heard arguments from behind closed doors, saw that the cleanliness of the place was more due to fear of punishment than real care, and that beggars existed only because of broken families and an obvious lack of empathy.
God asked the saint to continue his search relentlessly for the ideal place. And so, the disciple wandered from pillar to post, trying to find that elusive sublime quality of love blossoming within the hearts of the people. His search took him to places far and wide, but it was all in vain. There wasn’t a single place in sight that exuded pure love, compassion, and generosity.
After several weeks of futile attempts, the disciple began to become quite despondent. He did come across people speaking nicely to one another and practicing charity where needed, yet there was no evidence of that spontaneous, absolutely magical presence of selfless love, no signs of joy, not a single trace of humility anywhere, no witness of hearts aflame with devotion.
He was about to give up, and then, one day he came upon a quiet farm nestled in a serene valley. The two farmers there looked like brothers and they seemed to move about with a sparkle in their eyes and a spring in their steps for no apparent reason at all. They wore the warmest of smiles, and seemed to revel in their chores. The disciple was certainly curious now, and needed to know the secret of the spectacle of bliss.
The devotee approached the brothers and asked them why they appeared so joyful. “Oh, he’s my good brother who looks after me so well. There is no need of mine that is uncared for, I have so much to be grateful for and happy about,” effusively replied the one who seemed to be the older brother. Almost immediately, the younger brother looking on gushed, “My brother takes wonderful care of me day in and day out. I couldn’t ask for more from life! Please do come in and share a meal with us, for you must have walked many a mile and must be weary by now.”
The disciple soon realized he had found the place indeed. Here he was in the company of two brothers who knew nothing other than perfect harmony, love, graciousness, noble spirit, caring, sharing, and peace, and if that’s not enough, they even had the time and inclination to welcome a passing stranger in their midst and treat him with utmost warmth and hospitality. It was nothing short of heaven in those moments.
After a few hours of spending time in the delightful company of the two blessed brothers, the disciple decided to take leave of them to go back to God with the wondrous discovery. He couldn’t wait to ask God if his find was the right choice. The Lord was indeed very pleased and congratulated His disciple on finding the correct place to build the first temple. “Yes, you have come to the place. This is the place I wanted you to see. Let me tell you a touching tale about those two loving brothers.”
God began the beautiful story. “You must have observed that they work on a common piece of land and share the produce equally. Well, the older brother has no family of his own, whilst the younger brother has a wife and children.
“One day, the older brother thought to himself, ‘I live alone and my needs are few. Whilst I have only myself to feed, my brother has a family to take care of. Surely, he must live with great difficulty. It is unfair on my part to claim equal share of the produce.’ With this thought, he decided to secretly transfer some of the grains from his stock to his brother's storehouse. He carried out his plan every night when everyone in the house was asleep. It made him immensely happy at the thought of his younger brother having enough for his family.”
“About the same time, the younger brother suddenly realised that his older brother was getting old, and thought to himself, ‘I have my sons to look after me when I grow old. Who is there really for my elder brother? There will be no one to support him when he grows old . He can’t work forever to feed himself; there will come a day when he can’t carry out the tasks of the day.’ So, he decided to secretly transfer each night some stock of grain to his older brother's granary.”
“This went on for some time till one night they came face to face, sacks of grain on their shoulders, on their way to the other’s granary. As a result of their comical but startling encounter, they confessed to each other about their similar surreptitious transfers. Overwhelmed by their mutual unconditional love, tears flowed down their cheeks. They embraced each other in the dead of the night in quiet acknowledgement for what they received from each other. The bond that had tied them together over the years became known to them in those few minutes.”
God went on, “This rare scene moved me deeply.”
God, then, looked at His disciple, beaming a radiant smile, and said to him with untold joy, “Yes, this is where we shall build the First Temple for they have already built the Kingdom of God within themselves. They alone can preserve the sanctity of the new House of God. Now, get some stones and wood together. It is time to start!
Illustrations: Ms. Lyn Kriegler Elliott
- Heart2Heart Team
Vol 6 Issue 12 - DECEMBER 2008
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