Wednesday, June 9, 2010

June 9 – “In Late-Breaking News . . .”

Hidden within the second chapter of the book of Nehemiah is a wonderful . . . a TREMENDOUS . . . monastic lesson.

Our dear and valiant brother Nehemiah, cupbearer to the king (our Hebrew ancestors had a tremendous facility for rising to the top when they walked with God) had just learned that the city he loved, his revered Jerusalem, was destroyed . . . in ruins. He was so moved and so grieved that he had wept and mourned at the news, with fasting, for days. The destruction of the city and all that it meant to him brought him to his knees.

We spoke yesterday of the carnage all around us, ever breaking in upon the sweetest days and seasons. When all the world seems a garden of delight, someone is suffering to the bone, something has been lost that can never be recovered, somewhere events have conspired to leave others undone, crying out in the agonies of loss and pain. Sometimes, the “someone” is us.

The news that came to Nehemiah seared his soul. Jerusalem mattered to the Jews. Jerusalem, the City of the Great King, where the very Presence of God abode in the temple. The world may not have known it, recognized it, or cared about it, but the faithful Jews did . . . very much.

In those days, too, while yet in Jerusalem, in other cities in other nations, there were those in pain, suffering loss, undone . . . but the Israelites had JEHOVAH. They always had Jehovah.

Even today in the Abbey, if we listened to broadcast news, we would know that a child is lost or abducted in one state; a young woman cruelly murdered by a man who has probably murdered before; another environmental crisis is devastating the coastlands of one nation, and another is facing invasion from its nearest neighbor. Leaders have cheated and deceived, teachers have betrayed their trust, and military members have betrayed their country.

Carnage. All of this does not even take into account the thousands of new decisions to divorce, abort, deceive, and leave. Carnage. Yet, there is a secret hidden away in that second chapter of Nehemiah that can restore our souls, redeem our lives, and renew our hope.

Tune in tomorrow, to hear what Nehemiah heard!

"Was Life Ever Simple?"
photo by Kerry

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