by LaTaunya Bynum
But many of the older priests and Levites and heads of families, who had seen the first house, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this house, although many others shouted for joy. No one could distinguish the sound of the joyful shout from the sound of the people’s weeping, because the people rejoiced loudly.
The exile has ended and God’s people have returned home to Jerusalem and the surrounding area. After they had settled into their newly rebuilt homes, and after being challenged to do so (see the book of Haggai), the people began the work of restoring the Temple. There was great celebration as the foundation for the new Temple was laid. There were shouts of joy for the Temple that would be. There were also shouts of lament and tears for the Temple that had been.
Change is hard. Some of us long for what we have known, even when it no longer exists. Others of us rejoice at what is to come, even when all we see is a bare foundation. As the prophet Haggai tells the story, God promises that the Temple to come will be filled with God’s splendor, and the ones who weep in lament and the ones who shout for joy will worship the living God together.
- Read both chapters in the book of Haggai, and Ezra, chapter 3. List two times you lamented change, and five times you rejoiced at the new thing God is doing.
Prayer: Eternal and loving God, help us to remember that you remain faithful in every moment of change and transformation, and that you call us to do the same. Amen.