Thursday, December 01, 2016


Who is left among you that saw this house in its former glory?  How does it look to you now?  Is it not in your sight as nothing?  Haggai 2:3

   It was only a short-term contract, the manager at Temp Prophets, told Haggai.  It probably wouldn't last longer than six months or so, so don't sweat it.  Just put in the hours, do what you're told, and come back for the next posting. 
   Which is precisely what Haggai did.  He went, took care of the job, and went back to his obscure life after the contract ran out.  No wonder his little book is stuck towards the end of the Old Testament, no wonder his words are rarely heard in the church, no wonder people ask 'what in the world does some dead, old guy named Haggai have to do with us?'
   Yet in the midst of his obscurity, in the middle of his forgotten words, comes some key questions which resonate with all generations:
   Why do we obsess so much about the past? 
   Why do we keep talking about the "good ol' days" as if there was nothing that happened before them, or since, that can compare to this mythological era?
   Why do we insist that the church can/will only be successful when we once again have 3 services in the morning (and one in the evening) and a Sunday School program with 1,000 kids (and only 3 teachers!).
   In just a few short months, Haggai caught on to what God was trying to do.  Not build an exact replica of the past, but creating a dynamic, new community.  Not living in the state of What-Used-To-Be, but forming a new people, including those we least expect.  Not sitting around the table at night, as the crumbs of dinner are licked off the floor by the dog, and the last of the wine is poured into people's glasses, and we tell the stories that our ancestors passed on to us, but pointing our eyes out the window, where the new days, the new things, the new life, our future with God is just beginning to dawn.

(c) 2016 Thom M. Shuman

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