As it was in the beginning, is now, and forever.  

The Imperial Singing Clones and Femtroopers, whom I join every Tuesday night for rehearsals, is working up Mozart’s Vesperae Solennes de Confessore, K. 339. It’s beautiful music and, with its text taken from the Psalms, is theologically innocuous. (The director has done an awful lot of musical settings of Catholic masses the last few years, which are also beautiful, but which I sing with a grain of salt.)

Although the text is taken from the psalms, a unifying doxology is appended to the end of each:

Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto.
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper.
Et in saecula saeculorum. Amen. 

That is,

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and forever,
and for generations of generations. Amen.

This is also theologically innocuous, or better.

There is something fascinating about eternity. I have found this to be the case even with atheist acquaintances, among whom is an astrophysicist who once readily admitted that science would probably never be able to answer the most fascinating question of all: “Why is there anything?” If an answer is possible,  it will only come through religion.

There is something fascinating about beginnings as well. Creation myths are popular even with those who have not the slightest belief in them. This is interesting, and paradoxical. Beginnings imply endings, and beginning and endings both contradict eternity.

Mozart was a Freemason. He wrote music for the Freemasons, including Lasst uns mit geschlungnen Händen, which the director of my choir at the Jedi Postgraduate School included in our tour repertoire. He insisted we all stand in a circle and hold hands while singing it, which might not have been so bad if this had not been before I started habitually wearing a Class C medical device over my face. Just a little too girlie for me. Mozart also wrote an entire cantata for the Freemasons, and apparently there are Masonic themes in Die Zauberflöte.

While I am not myself a Freemason, I am informed that Masonic ritual has deep roots — it purports to go back to the construction of Solomon’s Temple, a place of beginnings, the templum or pattern for the cosmos, the navel where Heaven and Earth meet. In Jewish legend, the Temple Mount is the place where the first dry land appeared when the primordial waters were gathered together.

I am an endowed member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and while one does not talk too freely about the LDS temple experience, I neither reveal any secrets nor profane anything sacred in noting that our temples are also places where Heaven and Earth meet. As it was in the beginning, in the Garden of Eden, so it is in the temple. Time and eternity are reconciled. They are brought together as one — an at-one-ment of Heaven and Earth.

The temple is a place of myth. Bear with me here. Myth consists of stories so important, so fundamental to our understanding of what the cosmos is about, that we regularly reenact these stories. This is particularly so for true myths, such as the Last Supper. Christ really did meet with His disciples for the Passover meal on the night before His own sacrifice as as spotless Lamb. It is not a made-up story. But it is a myth, in the proper sense of the word. Christians of many denominations relive the Last Supper every Sabbath in order to make themselves part of the story, joining the original Twelve as witnesses and beneficiaries of the Great Intercessory Prayer.  All the most important myths are true stories.

What is most striking is how Christian the LDS temple is. In the temple, we walk in the footsteps of Adam. But we also walk in the footsteps of Christ. There is no contradiction: Paul calls Christ the Last Adam. Everything in the temple points to Christ. Life eternal is to assume the nature of Christ.

This post is a continuation, of sorts, of Adam’s post on progress and perfection. It didn’t start that way. It was only after I had written most of what appears above that I realized I was introducing a variation on Adam’s theme.

Continue reading at the original source →