Thursday 01 October 2009

Bible Book:

"They gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading." (v.8)

Nehemiah 8:1-12 Thursday 1 October 2009


For a moment in this reading we gain a glimpse into another timeand place, a strange time and a strange place: such ceremony andawe, such wonder and awareness of God, and all around a book!

The story of restoration and discovery that lies behind this briefglimpse helps us a little to understand why the Jewish leader Ezramight say, "This day is holy to the Lord your God". The wonder herethough is deeper than a particular story or glimpse of history.Such a revelation of God's will is fundamental to the faith ofIsrael and the hopes of these people. The reaching out of Israel tofind and know God is met by God's reaching out and giving of self.Through times of slavery and rescue, exile and restoration, offaithlessness met by a faithful god's love; the gift is given. Andthe nature of that gift is Law, of how we might live well and inrelationship with our creator. How strange that must seem tous!

But we hear these words through postmodern ears that questiontradition and law. We also hear them through Christian ears thatare shaped by St Paul's teaching - a man who viewed the Law as hehad experienced it.

For a moment though we can allow this glimpse to remind us of adeep longing that remains in the human heart and mind. It is alonging for clarity and direction, of knowing what matters, andwhat the point of it all is. While we may express it differently,the longing is the same deep human longing. For the Christian, theLaw is not simply expressed in a book to be revered and studied, tobe given sense by the scholar or the preacher.

It is a living word made flesh and blood in Jesus who is the imageof the invisible God (Colossians 1:15),who helped us to make sense of our creator in the person of Jesus -the revealed and present expression of divinity in the midst of ourworld.

To Ponder

What places are holy and special to you? Why?

What has helped you make sense of God's words inScripture?

What do you think is the point of it all?

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