When Chantil and I discussed full-time travel, one of the most important things to us was ensuring we continued to honor the “sabbath” by attending church services and spending the day focused on relaxing and more spiritual thoughts. As Christians, our sabbath is typically on Sunday in the western world.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic it has been very difficult to attend church services. Our church was one of the first to implement policies the prevented regular gatherings until measures were in place to prevent the spread of the virus.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
As we travel we use the meetinghouse locator of our church website to find local churches to attend. While in Lisbon, we found services that started at 10AM and were only a 35-minute walk from our Airbnb. With not much more than faith, we put on our “Sunday best” and walked to what we hoped would not be another closed building.
As we rounded the corner to the address, we saw a gentleman in a suit and mask standing by an open door. Our hearts skipped a beat with excitement as we were finally going to be attending church for the first time since March.
The Portuguese church building is humble with artwork found in most of our religious buildings. What makes this building unique was the wonderful painted azulejo tiles on the walls and bathrooms.
“Use of a Mask is Required” – Everyone must wear a mask, sit 1.5 meters away from each other, and there was no singing of hymns. The sacrament was passed but the bread was spaced apart so that it wouldn’t be touched by others, and the sacrament water cups had a separate tray for disposal. After the meeting, we were asked to go outside so that we didn’t congregate indoors.
Even though things were very different than before COVID-19 it was still a joy to be able to partake of the sacrament, hear a spiritual message, and witness the spirit of Christ in the lives of the people of Lisbon.
Lisbon Portugal Temple
Another one of our goals, during our full-time travels, was to visit and participate in religious ordinances in the various church temples through-out the world. Before the pandemic, there were 14 operational church temples in Europe. However, in March all of them were closed to prevent the spread of the corona-virus.
The European temples are located in Portugal, Spain, France, Netherlands, England (2), Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Germany(2), Italy, and Ukraine.
Although the Lisbon Temple was closed we still enjoyed walking around the well-kept grounds and seeing the design of this beautiful building dedicated to serving the people of Lisbon and the surrounding regions.
The Lisbon Temple is 23,730 square feet and is made from Portuguese Moleanos Limestone.
The temple grounds consist of 4.6 acres and are professionally maintained with beautiful landscaping and gardens.
The temple groundbreaking ceremony was on December 5th, 2015. It was completed for the public open house in August 2019. On September 15th, 2019 is was dedicated as the 166th temple of our church.
Some of detailed craftsmanship that is cut into the Portuguese Moleanos Limestone.
Although we couldn’t go inside the temple, we returned home to see some of the pictures of the interior from https://churchofjesuschristtemples.org/lisbon-portugal-temple/photographs/
In the sealing room a bride and groom will kneel together at an altar to be sealed for this life and for eternity. This ordinance is also sometimes referred to as “temple marriage” or “eternal marriage.”
In the baptism font, baptisms are performed by the living on behalf of those who have died without the opportunity. Such ordinances extend the saving grace of Jesus Christ to all people.
The baptismal font is supported by twelve oxen that symbolize the tribes of Israel and the strength upon which God’s work rests. The molds for these Lisbon oxen were taken from the Idaho Falls Temple in Idaho, United States.
The Celestial room is a place of quiet peace, prayer, and reflection meant to symbolize heaven, where we may live forever with our family in the presence of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
If you would like to learn more about the temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints click this link: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/temples
Next Blog Post
Join us as we search Lisbon for “Trash Animals” from one of our favorite environmental artists – Bordalo II.
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