When I was younger, my parents had a house built. I can remember driving out to the worksite after the foundation had been laid. It was a fun day. My brother, sister, and I all claimed our rooms. Together, we imagined what it would be like to live in that house. We chased each other around a bit and ran between the 2×4 framed walls laughing about whatever it was we laughed about in those days. It was a fun day.
My experience must be pretty shallow compared to what God’s people were experiencing in this chapter. They had been out of their homes and unable to worship for years. The small community of Jews, had been assimilating into local culture instead of obeying God and worshipping. So when the altar was built and they celebrated the Feast of Booths, I would imagine that it was a huge celebration. They had come home and now were making this place home. The people of God were breathing a little deeper during this time and probably felt much like I did as I imagined living in my new home. Joy invaded their hearts and spilled over as they worked side by side to rebuild the temple and to provide the money and resources required. As the temple was completed, people shouted for joy and praised the Lord. The old men who had seen the old temple wept for joy that they had returned not just to their homes, but to God.
Although we have not been kept from God, I can’t help but think of the possibilities that stand before us at GBC. As we consider a new home, and imagine and dream of our future, let us remember that God is our true home no matter how this building project turns out. I also can’t help but reflect on how God’s people came together to see the temple become a reality. I see the same thing happening for us at GBC. The people of God are joining together to provide resources and money. I’d imagine that we will also be work side by side and be drawn closer to one another and to God as we prepare the space for our use. It is a joyous time to be a part of GBC!