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"Temple of the Tooth" - - by Rev. Weldon Bares

One of the holiest shrines in all of Buddhism is the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy, Sri Lanka. It is located in the royal palace complex of the former kingdom of Kandy. It is hundreds and hundreds of years old and houses the relic of the tooth of the Buddha.

I was so impressed by the history and architecture of this beautiful temple. I was amazed at the hundreds of devotees who gathered holding flowers. Among the group were Buddhist monks, a huge number of school children, all wearing white uniforms, and a wide-eyed Methodist. It was quite an experience with all the history, vibrant colors, incense, chanting, bells ringing. I will never forget my visit to the Temple of the Tooth.

I am not writing this today in a sanctimonious, holier-then-thou kind of way, because I am not holier-than-thou. But that morning on the other side of the world in Sri Lanka, I breathed a prayer of thanksgiving and adoration that the Christian faith focuses on a tomb that is empty, on a savior who is alive.

No bones can be found in the tomb of Jesus in Jerusalem. Not even a tooth. He rose from the grave, alive forever and ever.

One of my favorite contemporary theologians is Thomas Oden. He was professor of theology and ethics at Drew University. He wrote, “Resurrection is not merely an optional addendum or incidental epilogue to the gospel. It is intrinsic to the gospel, crowning the narrative, and validating the earthly ministry of Jesus.” (“Classic Christianity,” page 458)

I love the beautiful hymn by Bill Gaither, “Because he lives I can face tomorrow, because he lives all fear is gone. Because I know he holds the future, and life is worth the living just because he lives.”

I am so thankful today for a living Savior.

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