The story we are in is part of a longer story that we don’t always see.

Zerubbabel was in Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. Joshua (not the Moses Joshua) was the high priest and was to oversee the project.

The people of Israel, God’s people, had been carried into exile decades before this. The city walls had been knocked down. The temple of Solomon had been smashed and defiled.

And then some people came back. They were given the opportunity to start rebuilding the temple, but it wasn’t going well. There were distractions, there were threats, and it was really really messed up.

They didn’t know where or how to start.

One day, God talks to Haggai, a prophet. God tells Haggai to get the leaders and the people together.

And God said to them, through Haggai, “Does anyone here remember what this temple looked like before?”

There may have been one or two people who had been children, 70 years before.

But God did.

There certainly wasn’t anyone who could remember the first building process centuries before, the work that Solomon led, the planning that his team did, the people from surrounding countries who came and built it.

But God did.

And no one living could remember the tabernacle, the tent of meeting, the place that marked the presence of God among the people of Israel. When they came out of Egypt and he promised to guide them, God also gave directions for the ark and the altar and the tabernacle. These people couldn’t remember any of that.

But God did.

And in the message God gave Haggai to pass on, God reminded the leaders and the people of his promise back then and said, “wrecked building or not, I’m still here. Gold and silver is still mine. You will do this and my peace will be here.”

God’s presence? It’s bigger than any of us. And God is still here.


The photo is of All Saints’ Abbey in the Black Forest. The post is part of a message prepared from the readings of the day for November 6, 2022.