Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday in Advent 2

Haggai 1:1-15
v. 14 And the Lord stirred up the spirit...of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the Lord of hosts, their God.

Haggai was a prophet from the time after the exile, when the Persians had allowed the return of the exiles to Jerusalem from Babylon. The prophet calls this people"the remnant." They had arrived back in Judah to find the city of Jerusalem and the surrounding land desolate. Their first leaders had inspired them to begin the rebuilding of the Temple but after the foundations were laid the work ceased. Haggai's task as a prophet is to exhort the people to re-build the Temple, so that it can be the center of the peace and prosperity (shalom) it is inended to be.

In our passage today, Haggai makes the case that it is wrong for the houses of the people to be inhabitable while God's house is not. He suggests that the continued struggle in their homeland to which they have returned is directly related to this situation. The people and their leaders respond quickly and positively. But it is said in verse 14 that it was the Lord who stirred up the spirit.

I think it is often the case that we wait for our own motivation for acting, which often must come after a good case is made about what's in it for us. We ought to cultivate a greater openness to the Spirit of God to be at work in us, "stirring us up." If this is the case, I think we will often find ourselves doing the right thing without much regard for "what's in it for us."

In the world around us this is the supreme "what's in it for us" time of year. Perhaps one of the works of Advent is to open oursleves in this time to what God is stirring up in us.

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