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Saturday, January 12, 2013
Today’s Reading | Isaiah 66:1–2, 22–23
Thus says the Lord:
Heaven is my throne
and the earth is my footstool;
what is the house that you would build for me,
and what is my resting place?
All these things my hand has made,
and so all these things are mine,
says the Lord.
But this is the one to whom I will look,
to the humble and contrite in spirit,
who trembles at my word.
For as the new heavens and the new earth,
which I will make,
shall remain before me, says the Lord;
so shall your descendants and your name remain.
From new moon to new moon,
and from sabbath to sabbath,
all flesh shall come to worship before me,
says the Lord. (NRSV)
Text for this reflection | Isaiah 66:1–2
Fourth Church now labors, learns, serves, communes, and worships in a new house made possible by the will to serve and the many gifts shared by donors and stewarded by church leaders. The entire church campus is a testimony to the passionate commitment of its members and friends. Constructed over time in response to new needs and resources, an already remarkable landmark grew in stature.
In this season of celebration for a job well done, Isaiah voices a prophetic caution. The Israelites were fulfilling a dream by rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem which had been destroyed by the Babylonians. But instead of God rejoicing in their commitment to the temple, he warns of being distracted by the temple.
This is not a kindly grandpa saying, “Oh, you kids don’t need to give me anything. I’ve got everything I need.” This is your Mighty Ruler proclaiming, “Be warned! This house you are building . . . is it for me or for you? Is it to draw people closer to me or to prove your own might?”
The NRSV translation suggests, “What is the house you would build for me?” The stone which the builders rejected, the resurrected one, the great I Am, asks, “What is the house you would build for me?” The bricks, the glass, the steel, and the concrete are in place. What now will we build and what materials will we use?
Our God does not keep secret his desire: “here is where I will look: to the humble and contrite in spirit, who tremble at my word.” The work of building a new house for God continues when we labor in humility, repentance, and awe.
Holy One, humble my spirit and teach me gently in your ways. May your intent for my labor keep me true in my course, and may your vision be my own. Amen.
Written by Patty Jenkins, Director of the Center for Life and Learning
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