Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Nehemiah Weeping?

Nehemiah 1
1 The words of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah: In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa, 2 Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem.
3 They said to me, "Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire."
4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept...

Nehemiah heard from his brother about the state of the walls of Jerusalem and those who survived the exile. The walls are crumbled and the gates have been burned. Once he heard this, Nehemiah mourned and wept. I imagine that this wasn’t only because of the walls, some dumb old walls. But the accumulation of all that the walls and everything else that was lost meant for understanding the larger picture of one’s relationship with God. Jerusalem, the Land, all of this and more were indications of God’s blessing, or in this case the lack of God’s blessing. That something was tragically broken about himself, and because he is part of the people of God, that something was tragically broken about them. It all came to bear on Nehemiah. Everything just lays overwhelmingly heavy on him. Man, have I felt like that. But it makes me wonder – is my heart broken, really broken when I look closely at the state of the church, the state of First Christian Church. Are we really making a difference? And that’s not really it. But do I grieve, I mean really grieve, that FCC , in the words of Nehemiah's brother, is in "great trouble and disgrace"? Do any of us really?