Be strong. Do not fear. These were God’s words to Haggai to give to Zerubbabel and Joshua .
God said, ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. 7 I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty. 8 ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty. 9 ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.
I’ve been praying that there would be peace, in the world, in our country, in our community, and in our homes. Today, God is telling us to be strong and not to be afraid. In a little while things will be made new. In this place I will grant peace.
That’s something we can hang our hat on because it is the word of the Lord straight from his mouth to Haggai to us. I will grant you peace.
Oh Lord, would that it could be today.
I don’t know about you but for me there are some days that I’d just like to run away like Elijah. Out to the wilderness where I could be alone, where there is silence except for the wind and the birds and the other wonders of God’s creation.
Some days it feels like no matter what nothing is going to change. Everything’s a mess, everything’s broken, and I’m too tired to fix it. Maybe the people who came back from exile to see their city and temple destroyed felt like that. Maybe that’s why they hadn’t started to repair the walls because the task before them was too much.
But God, our Creator, the One who loves us when no one else possibly could, says, “Be strong…Do not be afraid. I’m going to shake things up and make everything better than it was before.”
Strife and wars and conflicts come and go. Our hope is in God. Our hope is that our Creator can take the remnants of what’s left and create something greater than what was here before. Our hope, our faith is that God still has a plan, a grand design to make everything better…and one day bring peace to our world.
Remembering in the Silence…
In the silence of this sanctuary let us remember…
They shall not grow old, as that are left grow old. Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.
We will remember them. (Spill the Beans, Issue 9)
Let us pray.
Ever-living God, today we remember those whom you’ve gathered from the noise and storm of war into the peace of your presence. May that same Spirit of Peace fall on us and all who remember this day; particularly those whose remembering brings back memories of personal loss and tragedy.
Grant us your peace; bring justice to all peoples, and establish harmony among all nations and races, through Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.