The Book of Ezra tells the story of the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem after the Persian Empire allowed them to return from Babylonian Exile. When the foundation was laid, all the people came to celebrate. The young ones saw the fulfilment of their lifetime hope and recognized the miracle that had happened through God's grace. They rejoiced and shouted for joy. The old ones, however, remembered the old Temple Solomon had built that had been destroyed and didn't think the new one was as good, so they wept and cried out loud. The Bible tells us the shouts of joy were mixed with the cries and weeping.
Isn't that the way it is? Always, the voice of celebration of God's goodness mixes with the cries of complaint. We all know what it is to experience loss--grief, financial collapse, starting over. It's so easy to focus on our imagined idealization of what we once had. And yet, it's impossible to rebuild while we look backward. The only way to rebuild is to celebrate every gift given to us as God gives us a new start every day. This is true of every Christian's life. It's certainly true of the life of every church.
It's November, a season of gratitude. Make sure the loud shouts of gratitude for what gives us today drown out the noise of the weeping of those who can't get over what they imagined they have lost.
Your affectionate friend and brother,