Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Living Redemption

The Provo City Center Temple — the 150th temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), located in downtown Provo, Utah — has an interesting history.

From 1898 to 2010, the Provo Tabernacle served as a multipurpose religious meeting place and community center. Then, in December 2010, a four-alarm fire gutted the interior of the historic building.

In the words of Linda S. Reeves, a leader of the LDS Church's worldwide women's organization:
[The building's] loss was deemed a great tragedy by both the community and Church members. Many wondered, “Why did the Lord let this happen? Surely He could have prevented the fire or stopped its destruction.”

Ten months later, during the October 2011 general conference, there was an audible gasp when President Thomas S. Monson announced that the nearly destroyed tabernacle was to become a holy temple — a house of the Lord!

Suddenly we could see what the Lord had always known! He didn’t cause the fire, but He allowed the fire to strip away the interior. He saw the tabernacle as a magnificent temple.
This magnificent temple, which my husband, son, and I were able to tour in February, was dedicated on Sunday, March 20, and we were blessed to attend that service. As I sat waiting for the dedication to begin, I read from Shauna Niequist's Savor, the daily devotional book I'm reading this year.

The scripture for March 20 was Isaiah 43:19:
"See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland."
Shauna's words seemed to have been written just for the occasion:
This is what I know: God can make something beautiful out of anything, out of darkness and trash and broken bones. He can shine light into the blackest night, and He leaves glimpses of hope all around us.
Provo City Center Temple, February 2016.
© Alison Walker 2016

The theme for my annual women's retreat this year was Living Redemption. On the first night of the retreat, each of us shared a definition or experience or quote about what redemption means to us. I shared Shauna's words and the circumstance in which I'd read them, because this is what I know — God can make something beautiful out of anything!

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