Sirach 49:11-13: Heroes after Exile
Over the last several days, we reflected on the idea of taking a dare on the strength of the relationship between God and humanity. Today we return to a favorite as we reflect on Nehemiah, a man who led his people out of exile and created an environment in which they might become heroes. How might we live our own lives as new Nehemiahs?
Nehemiah was the administrator who brought his own money, sweat and tears to the reconstruction of the Temple and the walls of Jerusalem. He provided not only the structure, organization and the will, but the risk-taking attitude and perseverance to create the continuity between the pre and post exile worlds. He created an environment for the Word of God to flourish in the post-captivity Jerusalem. At various times over these several years as we have spent Noontime together, we have reflected on this man, this work, this wisdom, this patience, this persistence, this dedication and devotion to God. These are all qualities necessary for discipleship.
As we go about our lives we are continually called to rebuild and to reconstitute ourselves and others. We are called to Christ, the one who saves.
True heroes are those who understand that the saving work they do – their amazing feats, their miracles – come from God. They know that God is the source of all goodness and healing. And they praise God unceasingly in the midst of turmoil and strife. True heroes create structures and times and places in which God can dwell with the faithful. True heroes find reward in the endless suffering that accompanies discipleship. True heroes are rare. When we find them, we best hold on to them . . . and follow.
Adapted from a favorite from May 9, 2008.
To reflect on the nature of optimism, watch Tari Shalot’s Ted Talk on The Optimism Bias. Enter the name Nehemiah into the blog search bar and explore this man’s determination and willingness to take a risk. Click on the image of Nehemiah’s wall above to learn about the archeological work at Nehemiah’s wall and gate. Or visit: http://www.biblicalarchaeologytruth.com/nehemiahs-wall.html