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Updated: Mar 9, 2020

From the beginning

To the end,

For Him,

To Him,

For the glory of God.

The weeping prophets knew that

exile is never the end of the story.

There is the amazing hope that

God’s kingdom will be restored!

Cyrus, the King of Persia, said that

the Lord God had appointed him to rebuild the temple.

Cyrus sent the Israelites home with the message,

collect and give silver, gold and cattle and all

that is needed to do the job.

He even gave all the goods from Babylon,

taken when Jerusalem was conquered.

Exile is not the end!

We see this from the very beginning.

We fall, we are exiled,

We live humbly in captivity as we move toward the promised land,

We build temporary temples for worship,

So, God can come to live with us here.

He meets with us as we gather and calls us back to Him.

He comes to burn off sin,

By coming close to us.

The same cycle happens,

Over and over,

God comes to us,

We sin,

We experience God’s presence and the sacrificial system provides

restoration through the sacrificial lamb.

God constantly raises up saviours,

So that God’s people can return to living with Him,

God keeps providing hope,

That in the fullness of time

The ultimate Saviour comes,

Jesus is exiles out of life towards death,

Then Jesus is raised up to life,

We too look to be raised up out of exile

To live in the new Jerusalem.

While we journey in exile,

We rebuild God’s temporary temple,

We are the same but different from the patriarchs of old,

The temple we rebuild after Jesus’ coming is not the temple in Jerusalem.

Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to us,

We still look towards heaven,

But now we are the temple that He is rebuilding!

By living in Christ,

God rebuilds us.

He comes to us with His Word of truth

He comes to us through the water of baptism

He gives us the Spirit of truth and we live with the Spirit in us,

So, we are built into the kingdom of God,

As we were created to be,

Living stones with a variety of gifts in the community together,

We are the body of Christ, the church of this present age.

In the Body of Christ, we are the temple,

The new Jerusalem,

Built up through God’s Word and through Jesus’ body and blood in the sacrament,

God comes to us!

God Himself builds us up,

As we live and work and experience life daily as God’s people.

We are still in the land that is not our eternal home,

We continue to travel in the time of our exile,

God is right here with us as we spend our life with Him,

Daily building His temple which is us and empowering us to

Focus on completing the journey to arrive at

Our eternal home in heaven.

Neil P. Schiller

(Based on a sermon by Pastor Roelof Buitendag 01.03.20 at Bethany, Ipswich Lutheran Church)

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