Friday, June 21, 2013

THYME Magazine

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume VI, Issue I

"Arise and Build"

“The God of heaven will make us prosper, and we his servants will arise and build, but you have no portion or right or claim in Jerusalem.” -- Nehemiah 2:20

The 'other' weekly news magazine this week features the story: How Service Can Save Us [click to read]. Indeed, service can be therapeutic, but it can be a component of something much bigger.

This week youth from the area's churches joined together for the Nehemiah Project [click to read]. Hundreds of Middle and High School students went out to build wheelchair ramps, replace leaking roofs and generally improve conditions for their neighbors. Four years ago I participated in a crew building a very long ramp for Comfort Care Women's Health Center. Local agency: Rebuilding Together coordinates projects, volunteers and materials. Local churches provide meals. Local contractors participate as team leaders. [1.]

The project takes its name from Nehemiah, the rebuilder of Jerusalem's ruined walls. His story gives important context to the work done by our young people this week. Nehemiah was one of the people living in captivity, the cupbearer to the Persian king, who when he heard of the condition of his people in Jerusalem took action. First he prayed. The situation looked bleak. The city's defensive walls were in ruins. The people were discouraged and lacked resources.

Nehemiah wept. The king then noticed Nehemiah's sadness and a conversation took place in which the king was moved to allow Nehemiah to return to Jerusalem with the resources to rebuild. Arriving in Jerusalem, Nehemiah surveyed the extent of the problem in the solitude of an evening. It was a huge task, to be sure. The rubble of the wall hindered his tour around the city. Nehemiah prayed.

A plan came to the great man. Each family would need to participate in the rebuilding of the wall near their house. Progress drew the attention of enemies, who tried to discourage Nehemiah. He prayed again. When his enemies tried to call him away from the work, he sent them this message: "I am involved in a great endeavor, so I can't leave. Why should the work stop while I leave it to come down to you?" -- Nehemiah 6:3 The wall was rebuilt.

Indeed, Nehemiah has much to say to us in our present day. We live in dangerous times as well. The walls of our city have been broken down in the areas of moral protection. Human trafficking, drugs, gangs and other dangers threaten our young people. We must pray. Then we must look for Ways to Rebuild Our Defenses. Indeed, we must look beyond ourselves, to G-d, for the resources to do it. Then we must involve ourselves in the great endeavor of our day!

Hollyhocks bloom along Churchville Avenue at Springhill Road. Every Summer they appear!, remnants of a garden planted long ago that continue to brighten the drive into Staunton. What a great living legacy for a gardener! 

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