Rebuilding the Temple

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"Rebuilding the temple" by Claire McGarry (CatholicMom.com)

Image credit: Pixabay.com (2011), CC0/PD

In Haggai 1:1-9, the people have left God’s temple in ruins. Yet they manage to put up fancy panels in their own homes. The passage goes on to say that they sow much, yet reap little; eat but aren’t satisfied; clothe themselves and still aren’t warm.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve felt all these things: Working so hard but feeling as if I’m just spinning my wheels; binge eating junk food, yet always craving more; putting on layers of clothes but still feeling a chill so deep I can’t stop shivering.

Twice, the passage says: “Reflect on your experience!” Both times with an exclamation point. This is the point in our own motherhood where we’d put our kids in Time Out for not heeding our warnings when doing something wrong.

So, what’s the connection between Haggai’s time and now? How does this passage pertain to us in 2020? Our churches are beautiful, with stained glass windows and cushions on the kneelers. There’s no need to rebuild God’s temple today, or is there?

“God’s temple” extends well beyond the four walls of our churches. God’s greatest temple lies within each one of us. This is where Haggai’s words hit home.

Is it time for you to dwell in your paneled houses while this house lies in ruins? (Haggai 1:4)

By no means am I a glamorous person. But you can bet I don’t leave the house without a bit of make-up on and my hair done, my proverbial “panels” that I adorn my house with. But step inside my soul and you’ll see the ruin that I’ve let His temple become: In the past 12 months, I’ve stopped exercising, gained 15 pounds from binge eating junk food, and stay up so late each night, I feel physically ill the next day.

I’ve rationalized it all as coping mechanisms to the stress and chaos of my life since going back to work. But in the new light of Haggai’s words, how dare I desecrate God’s temple, no matter my rationale!

We’re only given one go-round in this life. Yet, God gives us an infinite number of do-overs. I’d rather take the wake-up call now and begin the hard work of rebuilding His temple as my New Year Resolution, than postpone the work and fall into further ruin.


Copyright 2020 Claire McGarry

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About Author

Claire McGarry is the author of the Lenten devotional "With Our Savior," published by Creative Communications for the Family/Bayard, Inc. and All is Blessing: Finding God in the Tensions of Life, to be published by Our Sunday Visitor in the fall of 2021. Her freelance work has appeared in various Chicken Soup for the Soul books, Focus on the Family magazine, Catechist magazine, These Days devotional, and Keys for Kids devotional. The founder of MOSAIC of Faith, a ministry with several different programs for mothers and children, she blogs at Shifting My Perspective.

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