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About '312'

11 And all the people responded with a great shout when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.  12 But many of the priests and Levites and heads of families, old people who had seen the first house on its foundations, wept with a loud voice when they saw this house, though many shouted aloud for joy,  13 so that the people could not distinguish the sound of the joyful shout from the sound of the people’s weeping, for the people shouted so loudly that the sound was heard far away .

 

Ezra 3:11-13

As we contemplate how to lay a new foundation for our shared life together as a congregation, staff, and as pastors, we are reminded of the above story from Ezra 3. When the people of God returned to rebuild the temple of God, which was razed to the ground by the Babylonians, the first thing they did was lay a new foundation. And when the new foundation was laid, there was great joy, but there was also great sadness, for the foundation that was laid was not like the one that was lost.

 

As we build our transition plan, it is fitting that we keep this story front-and-center in our minds, for the foundation we lay will not be like the one we lost (at least for the near future) and so we have called this plan Transition 312, a reminder of the words from Ezra 3:12, for we expect that there will be both joy and sadness in the transition back to public gatherings in the coming months.

 

Public health experts agree that ‘normal’ public life will not be fully realized until a vaccine against COVID-19 has been administered nationwide. While many vaccines are in various stages of development, most health officials agree that we are likely still a year away from it being ready for public administration. This information is important to digest, for while we may slow the infection rate, we will not eliminate the virus from making a second appearance until a vaccine is administered.

The next year of shared ministry together may feel painfully slow, much as the rebuilding of the Temple felt painfully slow. You may be inclined to weep at what has been lost, and you may shout for joy at the new and exciting things we are offering. In either case, we stand alongside God's people who watched a new foundation laid for the Temple after their exile.