Wednesday, July 25, 2012

On homelessness and pioneers.

Kristus er som en lilje på marken og fuglen i luften.

Christ is like the lilly in the field and the bird in the air. How so? Because he has nowhere to lay his head. In Philosophical Fragments, Kierkegaard's pseudonym, Climacus, wonders if this made Christ unable to understand the essentially human, as humans tend to care about home and head-laying and things of the morrow.

Inspired by these same passages, my dear friend, Deidre, pointed out (first while sitting on couches in her temporary living room, and second while standing at a Mormon pulpit while I sat on a Mormon pew) that in the very same scriptural breath that Christ mentions some of these things, he asks his followers to do the same, by simply saying, "Come follow me." She mentioned that he says other strong words, about the dead burying their dead and son being against father.

It may not be surprising, then, that early Latter-day Saints were asked to follow Christ in homelessness, by giving up everything familiar and comfortable to follow the dictates of their conscience and their new faith. What may be more surprising is that they were repeatedly asked to build temples (i.e., houses) for the Lord, amidst personal poverty, uncertainty, and external persecution.

Plans were made for temples that could not be finished due to the third of those "amidsts." Others (the Kirtland and Nauvoo) were completed, following great acts of sacrifice, time, and belief. Nauvoo took at least 5 years to build. And still they were pushed Westward. Still they were without a home.

When some of the saints arrived in Utah, it was announced prophetically that it "was the right place." Notwithstanding this, I wonder how much faith and hope and love it must have taken to be willing to work so carefully and painstakingly on a new temple, a new home, that they did not know for sure that they would get to enjoy. It makes the already impressive 40 year figure that much more impressive, and helps me feel greater gratitude for this building that means so much to S (as it meant so much to his ancestors who helped build it).


One of my friend's points in her inspiring speech is that many (if not most) of the things that we try to do in life fail, or don't last. We might lose a job or have trouble finding a job in the first place. We might anything. But (and this is a big But), we just build again. We just try again. We just work to have a (Christ-centered) home again, or to feel at home (my personal crisis).

This makes it even more beautiful that the Nauvoo Temple was rebuilt, and makes me feel honored to have been married by the architect who designed it.

4 comments:

ashmae said...

I love you guys. Thanks for always writing meaningful things

naomi said...

thanks for this post

Tod Robbins said...

I love this.

Elisse Newey said...

I like this very much.

It reminded me some of the essay by Philip G. McLemore where he talks about non-attachment. I never seem to be able to put my love for that idea into words but what you wrote hit the same place in my heart.

thank you