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The temple God most wants: a humble spirit

October 19, 2022

Daily Scripture

Isaiah 66:1-2

1 The Lord says:
Heaven is my throne,
and earth is my footstool.
So where could you build a house for me,
and where could my resting place be?
2 My hand made all these things
and brought them into being, says the Lord.
But here is where I will look:
to the humble and contrite in spirit,
who tremble at my word.


Daily Reflection & Prayer

Chapter 66 is the last chapter in the book of Isaiah, ending a section that clearly spoke to the spiritual issues the Israelite people faced after their exile in Babylon ended. One important task for them was to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem (cf. Haggai 1:7-8). But the prophet reminded them that God didn’t need the Temple; they did. As they came to worship, God was watching to see if they brought a spirit that humbly recognized their daily need of God, not a spirit of proud self-sufficiency.

  • “The central problem [Isaiah] has identified in the human race is that of self-exaltation. We try to solve the basic problem of our extreme fragility, both physically and psychologically, by lifting ourselves up in order to gain power.” * Any applause we can generate from other humans is temporary and conditional. How have you learned, in your approach to worship, to move beyond “What will they think?” to “What will Godsee in me?” as your driving question?
  • “Naturalist William Beebe told of President Teddy Roosevelt. The two searched the sky for a star-like spot near the lower left corner of the Great Square of Pegasus. Roosevelt would recite: ‘That is the Spiral Galaxy in Andromeda. It is as large as our Milky Way. It is one of a hundred million galaxies. It consists of one hundred billion suns, each larger than our sun.’ Then Roosevelt said, ‘Now I think we are small enough!’” ** What helps you see yourself the “right” size before God?

Lord God, as I worship and serve, keep me aware that my call is to reflect your great love and kindness, not to outshine you. Let your glory humble and uplift me every day. Amen.

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Picture of  Jennifer Creagar

Jennifer Creagar

Jennifer Creagar is the Community Assistance Coordination Director in Resurrection's Congregational Care Ministry. She is married and loves spending time with her family, and she enjoys writing and photography.

God is God.

And I am not.

Every week, on Sunday, I spend time in prayer using a practice called the Prayer of Examen. It is a structured way to review the week past and look forward to the week that is beginning. I can honestly say that it has changed my life and how I understand my relationship with God. It begins with drawing near to God. The first thing I have to do, in order to make that possible, is to remember those two sentences.

God is God. And I am not.

Drawing near to God means that I am not talking to myself. I am not listing my accomplishments or beating myself up for my shortcomings. I am not making my “To Do” list for the days to come. I am approaching the Creator of the Universe, and realizing that, through no action of my own, I am welcome in God’s presence. I may be spending this time reflecting on my life, but the focus is on God’s holy presence in this, and every moment.

The next step is to “Reflect on the previous week with a posture of humility and gratitude,” * and then ask God to help me see when I have “been near to, or far from God’s presence.” * When did I remember and celebrate the fact that God is God? When did I forget that I am not? What did those moments tell me? How do I move forward, leaving those moments behind and taking with me nothing but what I’ve learned about God’s love for me?

The Examen ends with looking forward to the coming week, praying that I will live with the humble and contrite spirit that comes from remembering who God is, and with the spirit of hope that is God’s gift. I can move into the days to come knowing that I move in the presence of God. What an incredible gift!

* There are many different versions of the questions that make up the Prayer of Examen. The questions I shared here are from Sacred Ordinary Days: A Daily Planner, by Jenn Giles Kemper, Copyright ©2015-2022. Sacred Ordinary Days.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* John N. Oswalt, The NIV Application Commentary: Isaiah. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2003, p. 694.

** Found at