Benoni R. Silva-Netto is a Professor at Union Theological Seminary in the Philippines and the Associate General Secretary of the General Council on Ministry of The United Methodist Church.
Disciplines: A Book of Daily Devotions is a longstanding—and beloved—resource published by Upper Room Books every year. Each week’s readings reflect on scripture passages in the lectionary for that period.
In 2013 you can not only read these daily devotions but also comment on them, ask the writer a question, and respond to others who are reading the same material each day. We are looking forward to building a community of Disciplines readers! Just sign in and add your comment in the Comments section following the Monday blog post.
Each Monday an introduction and the initial reading for the week will be posted. Come back to this Monday post throughout the week to continue the conversation about the week’s readings and prayers.
Read Haggai 1:15b–2:9
The prophet Haggai encourages the people of God to rebuild the Temple that was destroyed many years earlier. For two decades after the exile and the homecoming, the Jews have planted crops and built homes, but the house of the Lord remains in ruins. People recalled the splendor and glory of Solomon’s temple; how were they to create such an edifice now? Ezra 3 relates the weeping of those who envisioned the previous Temple when compared to the one being rebuilt. Yet the Temple had been a sacred place where people communed with the Holy.
For Haggai, restoring the building seems to be as important an act of worship and faithful obedience as praying or singing praise to God. Worship is essentially intimacy with God. I have experienced such intimacy often in times of solitude, within the cloistered spaces of my consciousness, within the hallowed hall of my soul, within the sacred spaces of my spirit, within the holy corridors of my personal life, within the inner chambers of my solitary existence. But there remains an invitation to meet God also within the temples of worship where we join God’s people in fellowship and worship. This community can light the spark of passion and faith within me.
People from across different cultures worship in different kinds of places: within magnificent cathedrals in Europe or the U.S., or within thatched huts and mud-bricked buildings in Africa, or within the bamboo and coconut buildings in rural Philippines. Many places represent the feeble attempts of God’s people to respond to the call to build or rebuild God’s Temple.
O God, grant that your invitation to meet you in the sacred places and intimate spaces of our lives continues to be compelling and immensely irresistible. Amen.