Posts Tagged ‘returning exiles’

Ezra 2: The List

Ezra 2: The List

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

A number of years ago, popular Christmas gifts were publications entitled THE BOOK OF . . . LISTS. We might fill in that blank. With the advent of small computers, calculation of enormous amounts of material became possible and perhaps it is for that reason that these books became popular. Lists of cars, lists of famous people, lists of diseases, lists of favorite vacation spots. Lists of lists.

Today’s citation is an enumeration of returned exiles, those who followed Ezra and Nehemiah back home to a ruined Jerusalem with the pledge to recover and rebuild a city, a temple a nation, and a people. We have an opportunity to reflect on what sort of list we might compile ourselves. We can reflect on what kinds of lists we consult or value. We also have a chance to think about what type of list we might search to find our names. What does all of this listing mean? And where do we encounter ourselves?

The Israelite people hoped to recover much that had been lost. They journeyed through dangerous land to familiar place that no longer existed as they had left it. All they had earned and amassed was gone. All they valued was desecrated. All they had thought they stood for no longer mattered and so this loyal remnant returned to a sacred place to restore a relationship they thought lost. But as always, with our loving God who is full of surprise, they discover that the God of former glory had not abandoned them. This generous God still lived in them. This loving God still nurtured them. This living God still sustained them.

And so as we construct our lists of tasks to complete, people to invite, and goals to meet, let us remember that in truth there are no lists with God. There is only an immense, embracing, nourishing and sustaining presence who numbers all of us without effort and loves each of us with a willing heart.

To read about some of the world’s most intriguing lists, click on the image above or visit: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/11123049/The-worlds-most-intriguing-lists.html


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Wednesday, September 5, 2012 – Haggai 1 – Hurrying

In this brief but important prophecy we hear a vital message; Haggai exhorts us to look to our behaviors to see what we value.  And the prophet asks us to re-build the fallen Jerusalem of our hearts.  From the CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE (1157): “At this critical moment, when defeatism and a certain lethargy had overtaken his repatriated countrymen, Haggai came forward with the exhortations to them to complete their great task . . . The call to rebuild the temple.  The economic distress so apparent in Judah is due to the Jews’ neglect of the Lord while they provide for their own needs”.

And we pause to reflect on this verse 1:9: You expected much, but it came to little; and what you brought home, I blew away.  For what cause? says the Lord of hosts.  Because my house lies in ruins, while each of you hurries to your own house.

This is not a petulant or childish God who sweeps away all that we have gathered around us in retaliation for some slight we may have delivered.  No. This is the call of a God who loves his creatures and who wishes them to rise to the potential gifted to them at their inception. This is not an angry and selfish God who destroys all that does not please him.  No. This is a God who knows that we have become enamored of that which drains us rather than saves us.  These are not the words of a fickle and deceitful lover. No. They are words that encourage, words that animate, words that ask us to focus on what is truly important.

Those who had been deported have returned home to ruins and they know they must come together to rebuild that which has been lost through their own folly.  God calls them to himself and asks them to evaluate what they hurry toward and what they hurry away from.

Do we bustle home each evening to get on with our own agenda without including God in our plans?

Do we scurry out each morning to complete our own list of chores without taking God along?

Do we work harder on our own dreams without considering the common good and the call from God?

We seem to always be in a hurry . . . toward what . . . away from whom . . . in answer to what call?

For more thoughts on the prophecy of Haggai visit the Haggai – The Great Task page of this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/the-book-of-our-life/the-old-testament/the-prophets/haggai-the-great-task/

For more on setting priorities, prospering in tough economical times and taking the words of the prophet Haggai to heart, click on the image above or go to http://www.barryclingan.org/index.cfm/pageid/584

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.1157. Print.   


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