Monday, September 17, 2012

mourning and rejoicing

Good morning sisters and brothers,
I hope the weekend was a good one for you. When the people of Judah returned from exile in Babylon they rebuilt the temple in Jerusalem. In this passage we see the people celebrating and praising God for the blessing of bringing them home and allowing them to rebuild the temple. At the same time, we also see the older members of the community weeping because the new temple wasn't the temple they remembered. This moment speaks volumes to the church today. Many of the younger members of the church rejoice at the new things God is doing in our community: deepening spirituality that's evident in our prayer vigils, strong growth and new members in our Bible study, and some new energy for New Beginnings. At the same time, many of us remember the "good old days" when there were more people in the church and life seemed simpler.

The truth is there is much to rejoice over and much to lament. What is lost is gone: the 1960's are not coming back. But God is doing something exciting at Laurelton and beyond. Jesus promises that even the gates of hell won't defeat the church, so we can trust the future to God's hands. We who are excited about the future need to remember that many are also mourning the past; we who mourn the past can also look to the future with hope because God is in charge: "His love endures forever!"

God bless,

Ezra 3:8-13
8In the second year after their arrival at the house of God at Jerusalem, in the second month, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Jeshua son of Jozadak made a beginning, together with the rest of their people, the priests and the Levites and all who had come to Jerusalem from the captivity. They appointed the Levites, from twenty years old and upward, to have the oversight of the work on the house of the Lord. 9And Jeshua with his sons and his kin, and Kadmiel and his sons, Binnui and Hodaviah along with the sons of Henadad, the Levites, their sons and kin, together took charge of the workers in the house of God.

10When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their vestments were stationed to praise the Lord with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals, according to the directions of King David of Israel; 11and they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.” And all the people responded with a great shout when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.

12But many of the priests and Levites and heads of families, old people who had seen the first house on its foundations, wept with a loud voice when they saw this house, though many shouted aloud for joy, 13so that the people could not distinguish the sound of the joyful shout from the sound of the people’s weeping, for the people shouted so loudly that the sound was heard far away.

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