April/May 2016 - Vol. 85

hands raised to receive Holy
The Glory of Who We Are

  by Sandy Cahalan

When I think of temples, I think of grand, sweeping cathedrals - large buildings cutting into the city skyline or the countryside, their bells ringing out songs as beautiful as the structure. Images of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, Westminster Abbey in London, even Heinz Chapel at my alma mater race through my mind. I can see the massive pillars, intricately carved stone, and elegant woodwork. I can feel the warmth of the sun on my face as it peeks through stained glass windows, illuminating sanctuaries with light and color. These holy places were constructed to hold the presence of the Lord, to draw people into the beauty of Him who created the heavens and earth. Reading chapters 37-39 of Exodus demonstrates the amount of detail put into constructing the Ark of the Covenant and the tabernacle, in which the presence of God resided. 

In contrast, I look at myself, 22 years old. Blonde hair. Blue eyes. Nails picked over in creeping anxiety. Way too clumsy, oftentimes too loud. My speech could use a stronger filter and my actions hurt those around me more often that I would like. This list could go on for ages, but they point to one conclusion: I am nothing like these marvelous buildings. 

And yet the presence of the Lord almighty dwells within me. I am a temple of the Holy Spirit. The God of the universe for whom those magnificent buildings were constructed chose to reside in imperfect me. The Creator to whom cascading mountains, rolling rivers, and a seemingly endless night sky point, loves me and chose me before I even existed. His incarnation, death and resurrection broke the barrier between creation and the Creator. Through His humility I am His beloved, chosen daughter. He chose me, in my faults and failures, to live within; to strengthen; to restore. How easy it is to let my shortcomings define me. I need to remind myself, multiple times a day, to change my perspective and see myself for who I truly am: created in His image and chosen for His glory. Oh, that we would never forget the glory of whom we are in Christ.

Sisters, the Lord has chosen us. He has seen us at our worst and He still chooses to dwell within us. He chose us over any other part of creation, over any grandiose cathedral ever constructed by man. Let that sink in for a second because it's a pretty big deal. 

My prayer is that we would be emboldened by this truth. Emboldened to open up to more of His presence, to recognize our worth and value in Him. Strengthened to make changes in our lives that reflect the Spirit within us. May our lives be an invitation to a world that so desperately needs it as we proclaim through our words and actions: 

"I am beloved. I am chosen. I am a temple. 
Come and see, for the One who has chosen me has also
chosen you."
Sandy can currently be found in College Park, Maryland, USA, where she is serving on a mission year with University Christian Outreach. She was born and raised in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and is a recent graduate of the University of Pittsburgh. Some of her favorites include: Penguins hockey, real penguins, listening to records, warm hugs, warm drinks, crossword puzzles, and puns. She loves finding adventures, both big and small, in daily life, and in her own words, "Following Christ is the grandest and most worthwhile adventure I've chosen."

This article by Sandy first appeared in The Lovely Commission, a new publishing venture and brand of Kairos North America. It is is run by Molly Kilpatrick and Mary Rose Giles and a team of contributors from various Christian communities in North America and beyond. Together they are working to build a culture of radical love, femininity, modesty of heart, mind, and body amongst young women.

Their aim is to inspire and equip young women to embrace and promote a culture of Godly femininity in which we live out our rich identity as daughters of God and disciples of Jesus Christ.

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