“The people of Israel – the priests, the Levites and the rest of the exiles – celebrated the dedication of the house of God with joy.” (Ezra 6:16)
When the Israelites had finally finished rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem, after years in exile, they responded with great joy during its dedication. Its rebuilding was the gift of God and for Him. The joy was not in the building but in Him who caused the focus of Israel to return to its proper place. The House of God was a symbol that all was again right with the Creator and His people. The dedication was an honoring of God and His people, not just a building.
We in the church can sometimes think of the dedication of a church building as our work. Hopefully, it is not our work. If it is it is in vain. The joy of dedicating a church building to God is because of His work that made it possible.
The word “church” in the Greek (the language of the original New Testament) is “Ekklesia” and means “assembly of called out ones” – those called out of the world into fellowship with Jesus. The joy is in Him and His presence with a community of believers. The building only symbolizes that community and joy. It is important to place our joy in the right place, God Himself – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Heavenly Father, help us, like those early Israelites to build our fellowships and ministries focusing on You and Your will. Our community and joy is in You, who lives and reigns forever, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Pastor Robert Forsberg is a retired local pastor and Greene County resident.