Reading: Haggai 1:15b to 2:9
Remember when America was great? A TV in every living room and a car in every driveway… This was the ‘land of opportunity’, the place where hundreds of thousands came to make a better life for themselves. Every parent’s dream was for their children to be better off than they themselves were. It was a significant event when that first child from a family went off to college. Remember the good old days?!
Haggai speaks to the people in a time just after the Babylonian exile has ended. The people returning to Jerusalem and other communities remembered their homes and the temple in an idealized way. All was beautiful and perfect in their mind’s eye. But they return to a temple in ruins, to homes that show decades of neglect. There is such a disconnect between what they envisioned and their reality that it is depressing and causes them to question all that matters, especially their faith.
We too can experience this remembering of a glorified past. It can be physical – like when one returns to the old family home and thinks, “My this bedroom is small, I remember it being bigger”. This can also happen in our faith. Like those returning to Jerusalem, we too can return to our faith after a time of exile. After we have been away from God for a while, we come to return and expect God’s magnificent presence to be there all the time. We recall our ‘mountaintop’ faith moment and want to reclaim that feeling. But our reality is that often times our faith must be rebuilt, just like the homes and temple that the people of Haggis’s had to rebuild.
The Lord speaks to Haggai as this large task has deflated the people. “Be strong all you people of the land and work. For I am with you… I will fill this house with glory”. These are our promises too. Be strong, stay true to our faith, work at it. God is with us. God loves us. God will fill each of us, all of us, with God’s glory. God is faithful. May we be too.