Symbolism: What are you building?

For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God. (Hebrews 3:4)

The symbolism of building offers many lessons for personal and spiritual growth. This page lists scriptures and connections published on this web site and in stake newsletters.  If you want to add your own observations, look for the comment box at the end of the page.

From ward bulletins, December 18:  Home for Christmas.  Many stake members joined the Rodriguez Family and others for the ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday, Dec 10.   Janae Rodriguez was given the keys to the house, and then stake members helped her and her daughters move in—finally home for Christmas.  President Moon emphasized the service and human warmth of the project, and how fitting it was that it culminated at Christmastime.  He observed that when we remember our real home is with our Father in Heaven, and we yearn for and serve Him through the holiday season, it gives special meaning to the sentiment, “I’ll be home for Christmas.”

“These shall dwell in the presence of God and his Christ forever and ever.” (D&C 76:62)

From ward newsletters, December:  Adding life. Even with months of effort and care from our volunteers, until this month, the house has been just an empty shell.  Without people living inside, it isn’t complete. Once the family moves in, however, their activity, energy, and spirit will fill the house and make it a home, a place full of life—which has been the purpose of the project all along.   Similarly, our bodies are not finished without our spirits, and the power of God connects them to make us complete. The scriptures talk about the idea of “quickening,” where the Spirit binds body and spirit to create an eternal, living soul.  The idea of quickening goes beyond that as well: although we may be “alive” by definition—a spirit in a body—the quickening of the Holy Spirit brings life to our spirits, giving us light, meaning, and fullness.  To be whole and complete, we need God in our lives.

“And the power of my Spirit quickeneth all things.” (D&C 33:16)  “Quicken me, O Lord, according to thy lovingkindness.”  (Psalms 119: 159)

From ward newsletters, November:  “Behold, I make all things new” (Revelations 21:5).  As we paint and finish a polished new home, we can ponder the many gospel themes of being made new through Christ.  First, through Christ our natural selves are remade.  We may have the same frame and structure, but we are completed and given a new purpose.  Second, Christ invites us to seek daily renewal through activities that connect us to His spirit.  Repentance also gives us a way to be renewed, like having a fresh coat of paint, no longer marred by the scratches and marks of the world.  Finally, we look forward to the resurrection, when we will all be restored and made new again, as will the entire earth.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”  (2 Corinthians 5:17)

From ward newsletters, October:  Preparing for inspection.  In mid-September, the house passed its four-way inspection.  To prepare, volunteers not only completed major phases of the construction, but also paid attention to dozens of minute details ranging from filling nail holes to adding a fire block around the tub.  In our spiritual lives, we also benefit from regular preparation and self-inspection.  As we prepare for personal prayer, we can assess our day; as we prepare to take the sacrament, we can assess our week; during General Conference, we can check our progress toward topics covered by the general authorities.  In our large efforts and the small aspects of our lives, regular evaluation helps us know what to do to continue progressing.

“For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.”  (Alma 34:32)

From Ward Newsletters, September:  Windows in place—eyes to see.  The recent placement of the windows can represent how we see things.  Christ often advised His followers to seek Him so they could have “eyes to see” beyond the obvious, to recognize the spiritual significance of daily activities.  Do we look to Christ?  Do we see God’s hand?  Are our eyes clear and opened?  Is there depth to our vision?

“Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things.”  (Psalms 119:18)

From ward newsletters, August:  A roof overhead—seeking protection in God.   President Moon points out that just as a roof overhead protects us and our loved ones from the elements, “obeying the commandments in our lives can help shield us from pain, sin and suffering.”  A roof won’t make a storm disappear, and keeping the commandments “doesn’t eliminate problems or adversity from our lives,” but following God “certainly can protect us from problems and negative consequences we would otherwise have to deal with.”

“O Lord, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction.” (Jeremiah 16:19)

From ward newsletters, July:  Light and water—bringing the Savior’s nourishment into our homes
As our volunteers set up the underlying plumbing and electrical structure for the home to be filled with water and light, we can think about the structure of our home life.  Have we set things so the Savior’s light and nourishment can flow freely in our lives as well?

“And that which doth not edify is . . . darkness.  That which is of God is light; and he that . . . continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.”  (D&C 50:23-24)

From ward newsletters, June:  Consider the positive symbolism of building and repairing walls
The framing stage suggests the positive symbolism of building and repairing walls.   In our modern culture, building a wall sometimes symbolizes a negative barrier.  But in the Old Testament, building and repairing walls was a common and strong symbol of spiritual protection, of continuity in making covenants, and of God’s blessings.  Prophesies celebrated those who would build walls or repair a breach to create spiritual safety and stability.

“For we were bondmen; yet our God hath not forsaken us . . . but hath extended mercy . . . to give us a reviving, to set up the house of our God, and to . . . give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem.” (Ezra 9:9)

“And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places . . . and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.”  (Isaiah 58:12)

From ward bulletins, May 29
With almost all work on the house delayed due to rain this month, any break in the weather seemed restorative, especially with the lush appearance of the  earth, just washed.

“And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain.” (2 Samuel 23:4)

From ward newsletters, May
This month, consider the symbolism of building in small ways. As we anticipate greater opportunities for stake members’ involvement and continue to gather funds for the project, remember that even on large projects, progress is incremental, and every contribution matters:

“Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.”  (Doctrine and Covenants 64:33)

From ward newsletters, April
The excavation process offers the symbolism of not just preparation, but also removing what is not needed to make room for things of more substance.

In April, the construction process will focus on the home’s foundation.  “Remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation . . . which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.”  (Helaman 5:12)

From website, March
March is our month for clearing the lot and breaking ground! “On the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.” (Luke 8:15)

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