Hespeler, 11 September, 2016 © Scott McAndless
Zechariah 6:9-15, Mark 13:1-8, Psalm 48
isten, Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah, we’ve got a problem and we need to talk about it. Our religion is in trouble. Yes, we have religious freedom and people are able to worship as they choose, but they just don’t seem to be choosing our religion anymore, at least not like they once did. Oh, there was a time when people would come together in places like this and lift up their voices in prayer and worship. It was the place to be and everyone felt like they were a part of something that mattered.
But then the world changed. Now, all of a sudden it seems that people have other places that they need to be. Their lives are in other places like Babylon and Persia and they don’t seem to need the old ways of their ancestors anymore.
But don’t you worry, Heldai, Tobijah and Jedaiah, because we have a plan. We’re going to get a bunch of supplies together and raise some funds and we’re going to build us a temple. And it will be the biggest, best and most beautiful temple that you have ever seen. And then we’re going to set up the best of worship services, festivals and sacrifices in that holy space. You’ll see, when we do that, people will come from all over the place to see and to be part of it.
So, what do you say, Heldai, Tobijah, Jedaiah, will you give us a donation of, say, 20,000 talents each so that we can build it? If you do, and if we build it, they will surely come.
That is essentially the pitch of the prophet Zechariah in our reading from the book that bears his name this morning. The issue he is dealing with is the same issue that we are dealing with in the church today: the general decline of traditional religious institutions.