Day 16: Ezra and Nehemiah

At a conference entitled, ‘Imaginative Reading for Creative Preaching’, Pastors from around the USA gathered to review a variety of literary works to enrich their own preaching. Discussion got around to conjecturing, what Biblical literature spoke most to their nation? Without hesitation all agreed that ‘post-exilic’ literature was, ‘where they were at!’ I tentatively suggested that the opposite might be true for the UK.

Ezra/Nehemiah, though just post-exile, could be a powerful metaphor for the state of Church and society in the UK today. We, with crumbling walls and a crumbling society, might feel under attack but, Ezra and Nehemiah spearhead the last major spiritual movement in the Old Testament with lucid lessons for us today. The Kingdom of God is rebuilt when we are clear of our identity, when we recognise our own sin, when we build on prayer, when we act and when we recognise it is God’s work. Whilst Ezra rebuilt the Temple and Nehemiah the city walls, the greatest work was the redemption of the people and nation. We must not repair our Churches as citadel’s to barricade ourselves in but as heralds of redemption for those outside their walls.

God the Builder – can he fix it? Yes, He can!

Liz Pinnock

Read the Bible on line at Bible Study Tools. Today’s passage (NRSV) is here: http://www.biblestudytools.com/nrs/ezra/1.html

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3 Responses

  1. A fascinating and helpful reflection Liz. Many thanks.

  2. Love the slogan!

    • So pleased my reference to Bob the Builder was not lost on some of you. I’m convinced that watching CBeebies can still count as theological reflection!

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