The Journey 39: Transformation in my parish
Key Verse: “If you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish”. [ Esther 4:14]
One of the saddest things that is seen in in some of the parishes of our church, is that the parish has a membership of more than 250 families, but the sanctuary in which they worship has space only to hold about 100 families. Every family knows that ideal church would be one where every person can be a regular worshiper and the parish should have space to accommodate everyone who comes to worship. This does not bother the people who come for worship and also for those who do not regularly attend worship. On the top of it, you have people who regularly come to the church, but prefer standing outside the sanctuary even when there is space in the sanctuary for worship. They are not concerned with the worship, nor the exposition of the Word, nor the power of people worshiping together nor willing to understand that they are actually taking the whole concept of God and his precepts in vain and folly.
This scene is replica of what happened in life of the people of Judah. God has punished the people of Judah because they had hardened their hearts against Him. Moreover even the priests and the people were doing all abominable things thus defiling the house of the Lord. [2 Chronicles 36:14-16]. Thus the people of Judah are made captive by the Babylonians and soon Jerusalem is in ruins. Nehemiah is mourning not only because of the condition of the walls of Jerusalem but also with respect to the attitude of the people who are least concerned at the apostasy among the people and the lack of spiritual fervor among the people. (v. 4). The feeling that Nehemiah goes through is that of an intense emotion, which is expressed through weeping, fasting and prayer, for almost four months. On Thursday’s we meditate on how we can bring transformation in life of our parish. Are we concerned on how our parish functions or how the lives of our fellow parishioners borders on spiritual apathy, moral callousness and having no qualms in turning a holy place of worship to a place for social gatherings. It is in this context I think of the words that Mordecai says to Esther “ If you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish”. [ Esther 4:14] . It is in such context that Nehemiah also stands in history. He is concerned as to why people though in captivity still has not learned from their past mistakes. He wanted them to repent and turn back to God. God needs to worshipped in spirit and in truth and he needs to be acknowledged and in other sense we need to fear him with trembling.
It is here we as the members of the body of Christ needs to examine our lives so that we turn back from the complacency that we show in worshipping God, turn back from taking our relationship and our commitment to God for granted and in the process defiling the place of worship.
Let us do and be in God’s Kingdom and in God’s “business’ in the way He wants us and also expects us to be.
Let us Pray: Dear Lord we are sorry that we often take our role as worshippers as granted. We are not concerned as to what is happening in your body, nor are we concerned about how our relationship with you is. Help us to be serious of our role in your body. Amen