Links Daily Devotional

The Everlasting Temple

I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. (Revelation 21:22, NIV)

It’s there at the bottom of the property. Amen Corner. The eleventh green, the inimitable little twelfth, and the thirteenth tee, given their peace, in part, by Rae’s Creek, and their reverence by the Hogan and Nelson bridges.

If Augusta National, the temple of the game, has a Holy of Holies, this is it. The gallery can look on only from a distance. Here, the players and their caddies have the place to themselves. Those in the hunt come Sunday afternoon will tell you that this is their favorite part of the golf course, the one chance to collect themselves for the run ahead, when the furnace of competition burns hottest and every shot must be precise.

It’s what we’ve come to in the Western world, giving our sports events and venues religious meaning. It was the sportswriter Herbert Warren Wind who first gave that little piece of Augusta its well-known moniker. It was 1958, and Wind was channeling the title of a little-known jazz piece, “Shoutin’ in that Amen Corner” (the subtitle—no kidding—was “A Rhythmic Sermon”). Many years later, Wind explained that since Arnold Palmer’s victory was sealed with a ruling and an up-and-down at the twelfth, this is where the “Amen” had been spoken at that year’s tournament.

As for Augusta National being the temple of the sport, pick your favorite golf magazine this month and the effusion is telling. Everyone loves Augusta. No, everyone reveres Augusta. The Masters has become the most coveted ticket in all of sports, not so much because the play is more spirited here than anywhere else, but because every golfer wants to walk those grounds at least once, to feel that turf beneath their feet, taste the pimento on their tongue, catch the scent of the many-colored foliage, and hear the roars through the trees.

In sports and in religion, the tangibles are appealing. In December, 40 Links Players walked across the temple mount in Jerusalem, among the chanting Muslim men, past the Dome of the Rock. Rising to that mount, we passed the many Jewish men and women, bobbing in prayer at the Western Wall. The $3 million menorah of the Temple Institute sits perched above the Wall’s plaza. So much to see.

We would be wrong to dismiss all of these symbols as meaningless, only things of this earth. Some of them, like the Jewish temple accessories from the beginning, were intended to be types and shadows of what was to come.

But what came was Christ, Jesus the Messiah, the bodily representation of the God who is Spirit. He too was there to see, an incarnation. But God in his fullness reaches beyond all that has been created; he breaks the boundaries of the human container.

In the everlasting end, as we read in today’s passage from Revelation, there will be no temple, no place to go and see. Rather, God himself will be the temple. He will be worshiped with no need for the trappings.

If this is the way it will be for eternity, we make no mistake in going there now—to God, through the authority of his Son, without distraction and without reservation.

Jeff Hopper
April 8, 2015
Copyright 2015 Links Players International
The Links Daily Devotional appears Monday-Friday at www.linksplayers.com.