|Messiah Lutheran Church||
6201 W Patterson Av
Chicago IL 60634
As new home owners, MiRan and I are soon discovering just how much work needs to be done in order to make our house a home.
In fact, I'm seriously looking into how we might qualify as a candidate for a reality show, such as "This Old House" or "Extreme Makeover – The Homeowners' Edition"!!
Similarly, in the Old Testament, God's people had a rebuilding project in front of them that must have seemed overwhelming!
When the Israelites returned from captivity in Babylon, they began to build a new Temple. But when they laid the foundation of the rebuilt temple, Ezra 3:12 tells us, that "many of the priests, Levites, and leaders of clans who were old enough to have personally seen the first temple broke into loud crying when they saw the foundation of this temple laid..."
They felt that there was no way this new template could compare to Solomon's Temple, who had spared no expense in materials, and hired the best talents he could to do the work, and this rebuilt template seemed to pale in comparison.
But 16 years later at its dedication we read in Haggai 2:9 the prophecy that although the new house seemed like nothing compared to its former glory, "In the future this temple will be more beautiful than it was at first," says the Lord of armies. "And in this place I will give peace," says the Lord of armies.
Now some biblical scholars feel that when Herod remodelled the 2nd temple, it eventually became even greater than Solomon's Temple in structure and grandeur.
But, in a much greater way than physical grandeur, the reason this latter temple would be greater than the former is that the Messiah Himself, God in flesh, Jesus would visit there and worship there, so that the presence of God was evident as it had never been before in Solomon's Temple.
I see in the comparison of this latter Temple with the former an analogy to the life of our congregation, especially in these challenging times we are living in!
At times the task in front of us may seem overwhelming!
Those who recall former days of Messiah may find themselves longing for the past, just as the Israelites did, when they remembered the past glory days of Solomon's Temple.
But as long as Jesus and His words of life are proclaimed, God' glory will be found in the life of this church! At times God's glory will be found in new and different ways.
As God's people, we remain open and pliable to the Holy Spirit's direction. We allow God to pour out His new wine among us. We get our sinful selves out of the way, and allow the Holy Spirit to reign in our lives and in the life of this church as together we point others to the Saviour!
In doing so, we can be assured that Messiah will continue to be a place of beauty that grants peace in the midst of this troubled world!
After all, Messiah' Glory Days aren't just for the past. The Glory Days of Messiah are for today, as well — as we as a congregation do all we can both to know and to make known the Messiah Himself!
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