“When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their vestments and with trumpets, and the Levites (the sons of Asaph) with cymbals, took their places to praise the Lord, as prescribed by David king of Israel. With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord:
“He is good; his love toward Israel endures forever.”
And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy. No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away.” -Ezra 3:10-13
Rebuilding a foundation is not an easy task. In Northeastern Oklahoma, the earth is quite spongy and houses tend to shift on their foundations. It is typical practice to have new concrete piers laid every few years to shore up the foundation; but this is not a simple job. The floors which may have settled into a new spot, can crack or split depending on how much they have settled. It can get complicated and expensive. When the returned Israelites rebuilt the foundation of the altar and the temple of the Lord, it was not an easy job. Supplies needed to be shipped from Lebanon and beyond for the timber. People were generous in bringing gifts and offerings, and it was quite an emotional time to restore worship in the temple of the Lord.
The passage from Ezra 3 recounts how people’s restoration to worship in the temple caused many emotions to erupt. Some were joyful shouts. Many of the older people, who had experienced worship in the temple before it’s destruction were moved to tears at the sight of sacrifices being offered once more to God. “No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise.” – Ezra 2:13
How will we react when we are able once more to worship together in person? Will it be a noisy shout of joy? Or will we be moved to tears at the fact that things are not the way they used to be. Worship will be different, even in the same place. Some things will look differently and people will behave differently. It will not be an easy transition, but it will be good. I am looking forward to being together in person again soon. In the newsletter and in a mailing you will soon receive, we have guidelines and protocols we will follow in order to hold an outdoor worship service beginning in July. While we remain in Phase 1 of reopening as a County, we will only hold the early service at 9am outdoors. When we move forward to Phase 2 or 3, we will resume in person worship inside the facility and have the 11am service in person as well. We will inform you through the newsletter as well as direct mailings to ensure that everyone is reached. We will continue to provide quality online worship services for you to enjoy from home each week for anyone who is vulnerable or unable to attend in person.
Please continue to pray with us as we navigate these new waters as a church and as a Session. Thank you for your faithfulness to God at KFPC. We are excited to see you soon!
Holy Spirit, lead us into this unknown future. May we experience God’s presence and God’s leading every step of the way. Give us your wisdom and guidance to worship in spirit and in truth and safely. Help us to lead our community in protecting the vulnerable and the sick. Give us a sense of your constant presence, even while we are apart. Amen.