Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter - and the Temple

I have seem to have lost interest in writing on the blog. Perhaps it is because things get busy and it is the easiest thing to let go. In any case, I do want to write a thought or two about what has been keeping me so busy the last while.

After almost two years of renovations, the Atlanta Temple is about to be rededicated - next Sunday May 1st, to be exact. The openhouse ended yesterday. With my public affairs calling, I have been busy with temple openhouse related things since January. The biggest time consumer was preparing for the VIP portion of the openhouse. I had to give some presentations in wards to let the members know what was going to happen. I had to work with the wards in my stake to make sure their special guests were on the mailing list to receive the special invitations. There was a lot of follow-up, etc., as well as worry over whether it was all going to come together.

I felt considerable frustration at times, as things kept changing. I remember saying several times that I knew it would all work out, because it was the Lord's work and He would make it happen in the right way. And -- it did. The VIP openhouse and the general openhouse were both successful, with large turnouts for both. The power of the spirit of the temple touched all.

Bill and I were asked to help out as tour guides on the day our stake had the assignment. We were on the morning shift, so arrived at the temple at 7:00 am. After final training, we were given the chance to take three groups through the temple. It was a wonderful experience to share our love of the temple with others. Many were members, but there were also many who were visitors. All were impressed. The most touching moment came during our first tour. It was early in the morning, so the group was small, about eight people. All were members, except one man who had come as a guest with a member. In the Celestial room, the room meant to most represent heaven and being in the presence of God, no words were spoken. Everyone was given the chance to contemplate on their own personal relationship with God. That man had tears. The power of the Spirit was remarkable.

This past Friday, we had the chance to help out again at the temple. This time we worked in the Glendridge chapel, helping to get the visitors onto tours. It was busy the entire day. Everyone who came was excited to be there - and we noticed that large numbers of the guests were not members. How wonderful to get to share something so sacred to us with others and to have them feel the spirit in a special way!

During the preparation meeting before starting our shift, I was asked at the last minute to offer a spiritual thought. I am not very good at spontaneous utterances - but a thought did come to me. I have been working on a presentation for my ward's Relief Society evening meeting in a couple of weeks. It is about the doctrine of the family, based on Julie Beck's talk to CES last fall. She reminded us that the sealing ordinance in the temple is a requirement for returning to the presence of God. We will enter the Celestial Kingdom, if we have proven worthy, as family units, not as individuals. How exciting to share how important families are and how we believe that families are eternal!

So, now it is Easter morning and I am feeling particularly grateful for the power of the Atonement. That Jesus Christ would come to earth, suffer our burdens, die on the cross, and be resurrected for our sakes, is almost unbelievable. And yet, that is exactly what happened. I am so grateful that He did those things for me - for all of us. I have felt the power of His love - at times so strongly that I could almost touch it.

I know He suffered for my sins. I know He suffered to help lift all my burdens in life. I know He died for me. I know He was resurrected. I know He lives!