Late Spring, 1928, Lilias began teaching Sunday afternoon Bible lessons in her room, studying life “over the Jordan” as pre-figured in the carvings of Solomon’s temple – an especially poignant experience as her own life was drawing to a close, literally, in a matter of weeks (August 28,1928). One can imagine those quiet Sunday afternoons as Lilias, propped up against pillows, the map of North Africa above her head, added a lifetime of wisdom to her scriptural insight. Her diary records her notes about the temple carvings, beginning with the oxen – “lowest in the scale of service” – working through the portals of the porch to the cherubim around the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies. One can’t help but notice that her writing becomes fainter as her life is slowly ebbing, the next-to-last lesson, trailing with these last words, “Open flowers surely tell of the joy that is to run through all.” Her concluding words and her final lesson are recorded through the notes of a listener.
As she expounded on the symbolic significance of each carving and the lessons to be derived therein, it is likely her listeners noted how fully her own life had become the embodiment of those very qualities: the service of the ox. . . the fearlessness of the lion. . . the purity of the lily. . . the fruitfulness of the pomegranate. . . the victory of the palm tree. . . the joyfulness of the open flowers. . . the pure worship of the cherubim. And it seems somehow fitting that her “last lessons” focused on the beautiful carvings fitted for the house of worship bringing together so perfectly her love of The Creator with her love for beauty and artistic expression as presented in these carvings.
Last lessons. We tend to “listen up” when one who has lived life well ventures to draw from their experience with final words of wisdom. Each Sunday in July and August, we will post – here on our blog – each of Lilias’ “lessons” from Solomon’s Temple carvings, consecutively, as she presented them during her final weeks on earth. May we learn from her eternal perspective as she approaches the “full life to come” – her Heavenly Home.