Advanced search Click here for the website of the current Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby

This is an archived website containing material relating to Dr Rowan Williams’ time as Archbishop of Canterbury, which ended on 31st December 2012

Skip Content
 

11 December 2017

 

Monday 11th December - Nehemiah 2: 1 - 9

Nehemiah - Rebuilding and Restoring

 

A few years after Ezra’s story, back in Babylon, Nehemiah’s heart has been troubled by the same dismay which has stirred Ezra to act for his people in Jerusalem. As Michael and Rosemary Green tell us, Ezra and Nehemiah are one book in the Hebrew Bible and, as with many modern television dramas, we can see the story from two perspectives. But the story in both of them is one of prayer for restoration and revival; prayer for the rebuilding of the identity of the people of God.

For Nehemiah the pain of exile is intensified by the feeling of helplessness when he hears from his brother the story of Jerusalem’s sorry condition. How many people, displaced from their country and their family, find their hearts torn when news of trouble or sickness reaches them.

But Nehemiah is not helpless; he turns to God in prayer and fasting for four months. And God is with him and prepares the way for his return and his task of rebuilding. Rebuilding not only the physical protection for the city, but rebuilding the community, rebuilding the identity of the people by rebuilding their relationship with each other and with the God of the Covenant.

So many people in our world suffer from a crisis of identity.  They are lost and have no sense of belonging anywhere.  Jesus came to restore our identity as brothers and sisters together, children of our heavenly Father.

This Advent may we look to God our Father to forgive our wilful isolation, and rebuild us into the people, the community of God, that he has called us to be. 

 

 

For further reflection, please read “In Touch with God: Advent meditations on biblical prayers” by Michael & Rosemary Green, pages 47 - 50