Haggai 1:15b-2:1-9 (The Message Bible)
15 …on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month. In the second year of King Darius,
1 On the twenty-first day of the seventh month, the Word of God came through the prophet Haggai: "Tell Governor Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and High Priest Joshua son of Jehozadak
2 and all the people:
3 'Is there anyone here who saw the Temple the way it used to be, all glorious? And what do you see now? Not much, right?
4 "'So get to work, Zerubbabel!' - God is speaking. "'Get to work, Joshua son of Jehozadak - high priest!' "'Get to work, all you people!' - God is speaking.
5 'Put into action the word I covenanted with you when you left Egypt. I'm living and breathing among you right now. Don't be timid. Don't hold back.'
6 "This is what God-of-the-Angel-Armies said: 'Before you know it, I will shake up sky and earth, ocean and fields.
7 And I'll shake down all the godless nations. They'll bring bushels of wealth and I will fill this Temple with splendor.' God-of-the-Angel-Armies says so.
8 'I own the silver, I own the gold.' Decree of God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
9 "'This Temple is going to end up far better than it started out, a glorious beginning but an even more glorious finish: a place in which I will hand out wholeness and holiness.' Decree of God-of-the-Angel-Armies."
Devotion by Lynne Buell
According to behindthename.com, Haggai means ‘festive’ in Hebrew. He is one of the twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament, who urges the exiles returning from Babylonia to rebuild the temple of Jerusalem.
This passage wasn’t assigned to anyone in our November list of monthly devotions and writers. So I did a little research about this prophet whose passion was to rebuild the temple. I’m not going to go into any of the details, because you can Google and read it for yourself. But I would like to share my reflective thoughts for the reason that our Pilgrimage community promptly came to mind.
Beyond all the tensions, mistakes, and apprehensions, Pilgrimage UCC managed to survive. I can tell you from personal experience, prayer has kept me focused to continue, but there is more to it. Oh, I’m not saying prayer didn’t play a major role in our endurance, because it did. But if your really think about it, the community successfully kept our church together. I’ve often used the phrase “mixed bag of nuts” to describe our church family. We all have different strengths (offset by various weaknesses) and talents (some have more than others). Opinions may clash, but in the end, a solution is accomplished. Our faith teaches us that obedience brings encouragement and strength from the Spirit of God. Encouragement, as I for one have received from you, is offered more times than not.
We have so much to be thankful for. Will we ever be a perfect church? No, probably not. What is a perfect situation anyway? I think we can be assured, however, that the worst is behind us. The New Year is not only a time to say goodbye to the old and celebrate new beginnings, but for Pilgrimage this year will be a time of hope and a chance to let go of the past and embrace a new perspective. Just think about all the wonderful possibilities our future holds!
Loving God help us to be attentive to the Spirit’s guidance as our journey continues onward. Amen.