We couldn't take pictures inside, but if you are interested in seeing what it's like, you can go to the official webpage: http://www.swaminarayan.org/globalnetwork/america/chicagophoto.htm. It was actually quite detailed and breathtaking to look at. Here are a couple of my pictures from the outside:
|The doorway into the common area|
|The actual temple, or "Mundir"|
When we entered the temple, it was so silent and reverent. The tour guide told us that we came at a good time - the idols had just woken from their nap. I stared at the carvings in the stones, and gazed straight up at those intricate ceilings, and asked God if there was anything he could speak to my heart in such a place.
He replayed in my mind parts of the video we watched, and I realized that all the boasting the Hindu worshipers could do was about the actual building, the stone and wood and craftsmanship designed by human hands. Very little was said or shown about the people who served and worshipped there. And as beautiful as it looked, it felt like a mausoleum - empty and dead. Then God put into my heart the glorious truth of His Word:
"For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." - Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)
"And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said: 'I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people.'" - 2 Corinthians 6:16 (NLT)
We are God's masterpiece and His temple. He has designed and created us with his own two hands and divine imagination. He is the Great Artist and Architect, and He fashioned us to the praise of his glory. As beautiful as carved stone ceilings and columns are, they are only rock, and they will one day fade away. But God's temple is everlasting, and his kingdom will never end, because it is made up of his children - whom He loves deeply and knows intimately - the souls of those who call upon his name.