Community of Christ produces a special edition of the Hymns of the Saints hymnal, to commemorate the dedication of the temple. It’s bound in blue, rather than red, and has a large picture of the Temple in Independence within the first few pages.
I’m telling you this to relate a story involving my three-year-old daughter, Ella. Never willing to go to the nursery, but preferring to make mayhem during the service, Miss Ella was flipping through the hymnal last Sunday during the sermon. Seeing the picture of the temple, she turned to me and said, “Daddy, that’s the tentle. I want to go back.”
I’ve taken Ella and her older brother Lincoln to many temples: Kirtland, Nauvoo, Salt Lake, and Independence. And I’ve tried to teach them, at their level, that these are places where the Saints have sought to encounter God and a message of purpose of peace. Someday, I hope that they, too, will be able to rejoice in the temples throughout the Restoration as efforts by the Saints to capture a glimpse of what existence is and should be about. I hope that they will especially find the temples of Community of Christ meaningful to their lives and cosmosviews.
In any event, last Sunday I wasn’t sure what the speaker was saying at the moment that Ella pointed to the picture of the Temple, but I was struck that my daughter was paying attention to my efforts to share with her something that has come to mean a great deal to me; but more importantly, struck that perhaps she had caught the power of that holy place, and that it had become something important in her life, too. It is this type of identity development which will be crucial in our effectiveness, as Community of Christ members, to pass on to the rising generation the message of peace and Zion that the Temple symbolizes. God’s efforts will not be frustrated, but ours likely will be if this sort of passing of the torch doesn’t take place.