Thu, 23 September 2021
(Hg.1:15-2:9; Ps.43:1-5; Lk.9:18-22)
“Greater will be the future glory of this house
than the former, says the Lord of hosts.”
“Take courage… and work! For I am with you,” the Lord says through the prophet Haggai to the remnant of the people returned from exile as they prepare to rebuild the temple. “My spirit continues in your midst; do not fear!” Of course, we know these words of encouragement are eternal, even as we know that “the future glory” of the temple prophesied by Haggai refers ultimately to the Kingdom Christ now builds for us with His Father in heaven, and in whose construction we participate to this day. For Jesus is the Temple not made by human hands, and we are His Body here on earth, raising the walls of this holy place.
“And in this place I will give peace, says the Lord of hosts!” In the former temple, that which relied upon human hands for its construction and could thus be destroyed also by human hands, the peace was necessarily passing. Though the Lord remained present to His people, the temple in which they dwelt, in which they worshiped, was only temporary. The future Temple which holds the glory of God come to fulfillment in the Lord Jesus Christ, to which He leads us and which is, in fact, the Lord Himself – to this Temple there is no end, and its peace is everlasting. There we shall worship eternally.
And this Temple is present to us now; Jesus is in our midst this day, in His Church, in His Sacraments, with His Spirit, in the Word. And we learn from the Lord in our gospel today the way that leads to its realization. Yes, the apostles, in the person of Peter, recognize that Jesus is “the Messiah of God”; but not yet is it to be declared. There are first “many sufferings” He must endure. Indeed, He must “be put to death” before being “raised up on the third day.” In the same manner we have much to endure in this world, filling up what is lacking of His suffering, before we come into the eternal glory of His resurrection. We shall “go in to the altar of God” and give Him “thanks upon the harp.” He shall receive our song of joy, as in measure He does this day. In fullness we shall know Him. And so, here as we travel toward Him, as we pass through our time of mourning, let us pray with our psalmist:
“Send forth your light and your fidelity;
they shall lead me on
And bring me to your holy mountain,
to your dwelling place…”
(where His glory shall be great).
O LORD, you are the Most High God –
let us enter your House with praise!
YHWH, you are with us, always with us, dearest LORD, and you call us to be with you; you promise us peace in your holy Temple. And your Temple has come into our midst. He has suffered and died for our sakes and been raised on the third day. Now we must suffer with Him, we must do His work in this world, the work of building up His Temple… and soon we will come to dwell with Him in your eternal presence in your dwelling place.
O LORD, take away our mourning for what we do not have, for the lack of your glory among us. Let us remember that Jesus is the Messiah, that though we be surrounded by darkness this day, His light is with us leading us forth to your kingdom, which even now is indeed being built up in your Church, in all those who work in His Name. To greater glory bring us each day till your promise is fulfilled and we dwell in your presence forever.