Celebration and Lament

The walls had been rebuilt. The people living in and around the city of Jerusalem had gathered. Along with the fresh aroma of new lumber from Ezra’s wooden platform and his strong voice ringing out over the hum of the crowd, celebration was in the air! Within the barely-renovated city walls of Jerusalem, there was… Continue reading Celebration and Lament

Stone by Stone

Spare narrative and a stoic reporting of the facts -- this is the tone of the Old Testament book of Nehemiah: "So I came to Jerusalem . . ."  (Five words about a dangerous two-month, one-thousand-mile journey.) "I wept and mourned for many days."  (Three months!) Based on a careful study of Scripture, Lynn Austin puts… Continue reading Stone by Stone

Just One Thing: Reforming

In a meandering, three-way conversation with far-away friends, we began to ponder the term:  just exactly what does it mean to be "reformed"?  Without thinking, certainly with no editorial or theological censors in place, I said, "I would, actually, rather say that I'm reforming!"  After that conversation, the statement lingered in memory and wafted its way into… Continue reading Just One Thing: Reforming

Just One Thing: History

The longest recorded prayer in the Old Testament, Nehemiah 9:6-38 is also the fullest summarized retelling of Old Testament history.  It's all there, point and counterpoint:  the Red Sea crossing, the manna, the subduing of the Canaanites.  Ponder these alongside the disobedience, the mutiny, and the faithless complaining.  A slow reading of this prayer with an eye… Continue reading Just One Thing: History

Just One Thing: Names

Multi-syllabic,                                                                 Mostly unpronounceable, They march across the pages. Trailing their fathers, Embedded in community, Their names inscribe the ages. There are no nameless -- There are no faceless -- Followers of God Most High. Although we read them With hearts too numb to marvel At the grace that's between the lines; For these are the… Continue reading Just One Thing: Names