Devotional: June 25, 2020
So, the leaders of the Jews continued to build; the work went well under the preaching of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah son of Iddo. They completed the rebuilding under orders of the God of Israel and authorization by Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes, kings of Persia. The Temple was completed on the third day of the month Adar in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius.
And then the Israelites celebrated—priests, Levites, every last exile, exuberantly celebrated the dedication of The Temple of God.
Ezra 6: 14-16
Ezra tells the story of the rebuilding of the temple after the Israelites returned from exile. This was not the original temple, but a replacement for the one which had been destroyed. Nonetheless, the Israelites celebrated with great enthusiasm when the temple was dedicated to the Lord. In an earlier chapter, they are recorded as alternately shouting, and weeping, when the work began to rebuild this temple.
Our church has been going through a major remodeling. Thankfully, it has not been a complete rebuilding. After a number of months, we are nearing the completion of this huge project. We are looking forward to being able to worship together, to celebrate its completion. (We do not yet know when that will be, but each day it draws closer).
In between the start and the completion of the temple, there were many ups and downs. In fact, work was actually stopped at one point. Come to think of it, that happened on our project too! Fortunately, we were able to resume relatively quickly. It is now almost finished, and we just need to do clean up (actually a work party is scheduled for today).
While a temple is a physical, material thing, made of bricks and mortar, etc., it has incredible meaning for the Israelites. In the same way, our church is a building of bricks and mortar, wood and sheetrock. Yet it holds a great deal of meaning for us.
Worshiping in a physical structure which is familiar gives us a connection to the Lord, and to other worshippers. Although God meets us wherever we are, He does not need a structure to hear us. Our bodies themselves are temples, created by God, and each one of us individually can worship Him at all times.
Over the last few months, we have missed seeing one another, and the comfortable feeling of familiar things. We press on towards the day when we will be able to gather physically together. We pray that that will be sooner rather than later. Remember, though, that whether you are at 200 S. Kentucky, at your own address, or out enjoying God’s creation, you can worship our Lord always.
Holy and loving God,
Although You do not need buildings, we are grateful for the buildings we can worship in. Thank you for Your faithfulness to us during this strange time away from our church. We long for the day when we will gather together again in person to worship You. Help us to be patient. May it happen in Your time. We pray this prayer in Jesus’ name.