Nehemiah now there is a name to contemplate, a real Old Testament name, a Name of one of the books of the Bible, but which one. A good exercise for today is to go and find it and have a read of the first few chapters. They are about rebuilding Jerusalem after the devastation war had brought upon the city, country and the people. The people [or remnant as they were now called] were allowed by the new King of Babylon to return out of captivity. They did so but found on their return that nothing was the same. The life that they and their forebears had dreamed of was just not going to happen. The place had been sacked during the conflict, the place was in ruins, particularly the walls.
City walls were necessary for several reasons, they meant security as they could control who entered and left the city. They were a statement, they said “We are here and we are strong” and this sent a signal to the people and places round about that there was a confidence about the people inside. They meant a lot and they were in ruins with no one having the heart to try and rebuild, all was knocked out of them with the shock of seeing such changes.
Nehemiah was an important man in the service of the King of Babylon and heard that his beloved Jerusalem was in such a state and it hurt him so much. He decided to do something and got permission to go and rebuild the city. When he saw the place he was also overwhelmed but had a plan and he managed to get things going and was successful.
How did he get the city walls rebuilt? By organising each person in the city to build one small part of the wall each. Every household, merchant, family, synagogue, priest, worker, the goldsmith, the weaver, everyone had one small part to do. They all came together and allotted time form their daily living to rebuild their part of the wall, including reinforcing the gates and though it seemed impossible, the walls started to be repaired and take shape.
In working together, each doing one small part as much as they could, they succeeded. In doing this they regained more than a secure city wall but a confidence in themselves and a message that this was not a defeated people but a people with strength and power.
Looking forward to our situation now in coming out of the restrictions during “lock down”. Opening the church looks a mammoth task and some of the “Must Do” things on the list from the Church of Scotland and the Government seem overwhelming but we will manage because each person can do something to help. Everyone can help by volunteering when asked to. I hope that everyone can appreciate that worship with much less people in church distanced apart will be different. We each have to reconcile ourselves to the fact that the service we dreamed about and looked forward to will not be the same. We will have to get used to the discipline of sitting where we have to instead of where we have always sat. yet the church building will be open again a beacon of light and faith in the community.
It will say to the world that we have overcome the difficulties which faced us and that we are a church which is confident and strong. After all we have the Lord with us at all times and going in His strength we will succeed just as they did in Jerusalem all these years ago. Let us say thanks to those who are planning the re-opening and rejoice in the fact that the first steps have been taken to get back to church life.
LET US PRAY
We give thanks for the builders, those who have the vision and the leadership to bring Your church together s that we may worship You together.
We pray for the builders of society, those who make decisions which affect us all, those who work to maintain our fabric of life in our own community.
We pray for the builders of the church those who pray for the church, for Your Will to be done, for the good of the community.
We pray for the builders within our own situation, the peacemakers, the people who help when someone is in need, those who are good neighbours to all.
We bring before You now those who are in need of prayer and think of those who are ill and being cared for in hospital, or at home. We ask for Your Comfort for the bereaved that they might know Your Peace.
We think also of the young people who have gone back to school and pray for their safety as they study together. We pray also for the youth organisations as they face an unknown future, that young people will connect through Technology until they can meet again.
We thank You Lord God for your constant care and support, we ask in Jesus name.
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