Sunday, September 2, 2012 – Nehemiah 1- A Vocation for Building
We have visited with this book several times during our Noontime reflections and we know that it, along with the book of Ezra, describes the restoration time of the Jewish nation. We know that Nehemiah was the administrator who is credited with the rebuilding of the temple and walls while his friend Ezra, the priest, rebuilt the religious traditions of the Jewish people. Together these men led their community to recovery through work, prayer and a close connection with their God.
The survivors of the captivity there in the province are in great distress and under reproach.
We constantly bump into people who are in great distress and under reproach. There are times when we ourselves are the victim of abuse of one kind or another, times when we too, suffer greatly in that we are separated from some one, some thing or some tradition which used to comfort us and bring us peace. When we find ourselves in exile . . . and we yearn for reconciliation . . . the best remedy for this affliction is to do as Nehemiah did: I prayed: O Lord, God of heaven, great and awesome God, you who preserve your covenant of mercy towards those who love you and keep your commandments, may your ear be attentive, may your eyes be open, to heed the prayer which I, your servant, now offer in your presence day and night for your servants the Israelites, confessing the sins which we of Israel have committed against you, I and my father’s house included.
This was Nehemiah’s vocation, that he call together a buffeted and distracted people to bring them home to Yahweh where they might be healed and restored. It is our vocation as well, for as Christians we too are called to help in the gathering, fishing and harvesting work of God’s kingdom. To this we are called. For this we are made. Let us pray with Nehemiah . . .
O Lord, may your ear be attentive to my prayer and that of your willing servants who revere your name. Grant success to your servant this day . . . and all days.
Our vocation is to build and rebuild, to restore, to bring unity out of chaos, to bring light into the darkness, to bring hope to the desperate. And we are never alone in this work. We are constantly accompanied by the one who is the light, the hope, the joy of the world. We ask this in Jesus’, name. Amen.
Written on September 12, 2008 and posted today as a Favorite.
For more on Nehemiah and Ezra and the re-building of Jerusalem, go to: http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/people-in-the-bible/nehemiah%E2%80%93the-man-behind-the-wall/