Tag Archives: temple

unfinished 


This morning I write surrounded by chaos. For almost a week now we have been living in a house turned upside down. You see, shortly after Christmas we had some of our floor get ruined by a leak from our laundry room. Also the carpet in the boys room was ruined by an air conditioner malfunction so that was torn out as well. But, although we’ve been living on partial concrete floors for a while now, the real fun has come during the last week when we had the floor installers scheduled and realized all that needed to happen before the installation. We now have even more bare floors, our dressers are all in the garage, all the rooms have all the other furniture shoved to the side and most of the rooms are missing doors. So yeah, it feels a little chaotic, a little incomplete, a little unfinished. But the end is in sight…at least I think it is.

I can’t imagine what it must have been like that first Easter weekend. On this day, which we  call Maundy Thursday, the disciples gather with their teacher to share a final Passover with him; not even knowing it will be their last. A few hours later he is arrested and through the night he is tried, mocked, beaten, whipped, ridiculed and eventually sentenced to death in the early hours of that Friday. It was the end. The disciples had fled, the movement had died and even some of the last words of Christ on the cross himself were, “It is finished.” And yet for those who knew Jesus best, for his closest followers and family, something had to feel unfinished. It really couldn’t be the end, could it? When Jesus was alive during His earthly ministry he was once confronted by religious leaders who were frustrated by his actions and teaching. The gospel of John records it this way, “Then the Jewish leaders asked him, “By what authority are you doing these things? What miraculous sign will you show us?”Jesus answered, “Destroy this temple and in three days I’ll raise it up.” The Jewish leaders replied, “It took forty-six years to build this temple, and you will raise it up in three days?” – John 2:18-20 Destroy this temple and I will rebuild it in three days? We of course have the insight to understand what Jesus was talking about and yet…it still seems impossible. Rebuilding the temple in three days would have been an engineering feat to daunting for any nation, let alone a person. Resurrecting a body was something that just didn’t happen. So either way we look at the passage it seems unfathomable.

If ever we need the story of Easter it is in our world today. It is easy to see that we are surrounded by chaos, brokenness, incomplete stories, unfinished lives, death, sin and hell. We need the story of the Resurrection. We need the temple (Christ body, but also the church) to be rebuilt into all that God intends for it to be. We need to feel as if there is a work being completed in us that will bring wholeness, healing, life and love to the world around us. We need to be caught up in a hope so fierce that it defies anything that the news, the nations,  or the naysayers might throw at us. We need the finality of Easter because in the end death does not have the last word. Unfinished is not the end of the story and love and life reign supreme for Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen Indeed!

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good for nothing

I remember it still to this day. I was on the playground of my new school and I really didn’t know anyone. I had just entered sixth grade and suffice it to say, I wasn’t at my most confident. So there I was standing by the basketball goal watching some of the other kids play basketball when one of the bigger, more talented sixth graders comes down off of a lay-up, looks at me as asks, “What are you trying to be, some kind of dork?’ Even sitting here typing this today my 38-yr-old self cringes a little. But I wonder how many of us have ever been made to feel small, left-out, cut-down, diminished or less-than because of the words of another. The old adage ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me’, really is a bunch of phooey. It is really quite easy to be made to feel good for nothing by the words of people around us.

This morning I stumbled upon a passage of scripture in 1 Kings…mainly because I hadn’t read the reference very well in my devotional as my eyes were still waking up. But in this passage it is speaking about Solomon’s building of the temple and one of the ways he attempted to pay back Hiram, King of Tyre for all of the resources he gave for the temple. The writer puts it this way, “King Solomon gave twenty towns in Galilee to Hiram king of Tyre…But when Hiram went from Tyre to see the towns that Solomon had given him, he was not pleased with them. “What kind of towns are these you have given me, my brother?” he asked. And he called them the Land of Kabul, a name they have to this day.” – 1 Kings 9:11-13 King Hiram called them Kabul, which roughly translated in Hebrew meant, ‘good for nothing’. King Hiram looked at Galilee and called it good for nothing. Similarly, a few hundred years later, Nathaniel asks another question of that region, “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” – J0hn 1:46 And of course, we in the Christian faith realize that both Hiram and Nathaniel couldn’t be more wrong. For out of Galilee came salvation for the whole world.

I wonder if we ever think of insignificance in this way today. In a world where power, looks, money, ability, etc. is social currency, do we ever pay attention to those who may not measure up? Let me take you back to that 6th grader for a moment. I never really made it onto that court of my peers with full acceptance, but I did start playing with and encouraging some of the other younger students who were also on the playground. All of a sudden I was able to become the big sixth-grader mentor to some third and fourth grade students who often would get overlooked by their older siblings. I may or may not have even played basketball with a kid who eventually went on to play Division I NCAA ball (though I am not taking credit for that career…unless I should). But all that to say, no one is good for nothing. And you are not insignificant. May you not be defeated by the opinions of others today and may you also come to realize that you have the ability to lift up those around you as well.


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