by Richard Coble
Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10
“. . . Ezra reminds the people of the God who was with them, in joy and in hardship, in the unbearable weight of oppression, in the impossibilities of life.
But it is not just a reminder of the God who was, but of the God who is in relationship with these people. So, Ezra proclaims, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep…Go your way, eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions of them to those for whom nothing is prepared, for this day is holy to our Lord; and do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
Throughout this week, I’ve been thrown by Ezra’s command to the people not to mourn or weep. For lament is a good and just response to these difficult and uncertain days. Just as Jerusalem had many grief-filled and uncertain days ahead in time of Ezra and Nehemiah.
Instead of a ‘do not,’ what I hear Ezra say, is more a ‘nevertheless.’”
Watch the full GCPC service on 1/23/22 here
(Scripture and sermon begin at 36:44)