Over the last weeks we have been looking at the story of Nehemiah and his efforts to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. We have been viewing this remarkable story through the context of the ruins of our own life. We have all been standing in a position where we needed to rebuild. We have all looked around our own community and realized that it is not what it once was. Rebuilding is harder than building. When we build something new the entire process is filled with enthusiasm, vision, and expectations. When we are forced to rebuild we stand amongst the ruins of our reality with the memories of what once was.
This stands true in our own community as well. We hear catch phrases from politicians, community leaders, and religious clergy say “we need to return Centralia to the way it used to be,” or “we need our neighborhood like it once was.” Such statements reflect the ideology of those who stand in ruins focused on what once was. The real work of rebuilding takes place after the headlines fade, the march is over, and the sermon or election is far past. Like Nehemiah, the real rebuilding begins when no one is watching or even taking notice. So what have we learned from Nehemiah’s rebuilding blocks that are relevant for us today. First there needs to be unity of purpose. We need participants’ not just spectators. Individuals need to be moved so deeply that they actually stop commenting on social media and get their hands dirty. When an entire group of people can come together with a common goal or single purpose, amazing things can get accomplished. It takes unity with a purpose but it also takes harmony with diversity. Like Nehemiah we need families, clergy, politicians, rich people, poor people, business owners, young, old, men, women, and children all working together in harmony. We need religious leaders to put aside their personal theology or agendas and work with others who differ to serve all of God’s people. When we come together we can accomplish more but more importantly we get exposed to the diversity of our neighbor. Working alongside someone, we get to know them, understanding them more, and see your similarities and differences. You become a community when diverse people work together for a common communal goal. There is unity with purpose, harmony with diversity, and last courage to participate. To rebuild takes courage. Rebuilding takes a tremendous amount of courage, strength, and endurance. We must acknowledge that there are individuals or groups in our life and in our community who do not desire to make it better. They will deflect, ridicule, and sabotage any rebuilding efforts. So like Nehemiah, we must not allow them to distract us from the job ahead. If we want to rebuild, before the first brick is replaced, we must be unified in our purpose, harmonious in our diversity, and courageous in our participation. It will not be as easy as standing in the ruins, remembering what once was, and doing nothing. So let us begin this journey of rebuilding together.
Be kind to one another..
Peace, Love and Happiness: