The Joy of Worship…and More Waiting

Tuesday of the Fifth Week in Easter, Year B
Ezra 3—4

Nick reads the one-minute Firestarter. Click on the image.

After seventy years, the sweet, sacred smell of sacrifice returns to the Promised Land. Ground breaking ceremonies take place for the new Temple destroyed when wicked Nebuchadnezzar razed Jerusalem and held God’s people captive in Babylon. A great shout breaks out. The word used in Hebrew, teru’ah, is the loudest of noises that humans can make; it is a combination of shouts, weeping for joy and blasts of trumpets.

However, the neighbors complain. They write letters of protest to the then Persian King Artaxerxes who decrees that the rebuilding cease.

The Lord’s will may be slowed up, but it cannot be stopped. There are two things that the Chosen People need to learn—fidelity to the Lord’s will and patience. Do you have any personal reflections about these? They are gifts of the Spirit.


Tuesdays are dedicated to Hebrew History and “The Writings.”
During the remainder of the Easter Season, we read the Book of Ezra.


Daily Bible Breaths

Version for Children and Families for This Week

Over eleven hundred “Firestarters” and readings threading through the Bible in three years. Ebook Available for $6 Click here

4 thoughts on “The Joy of Worship…and More Waiting

  1. A whole range of emotions courses through the reading for today, such as weeping and shouting for joy as worship returns and the foundations of the temple are laid. Yet there must also have been intense feelings of sadness and anger, not to mention fear as neighbors turn on them. I wonder if the neighbors’ desire to help was sincere, or sabotage? Did they resent being turned away from an honest desire to help? Very human interactions going on here.

    The joys and rhythms of worship return once again. I recall Schindler’s List and the Friday night Sabbath services that was secretly held in the factory. I think about all those for whom worship is forbidden, entered into with peril. I wonder about new ways for Christians to worship, expressing the inward call of light and love to be compassionate to those searching, to the many who have been orphaned by institutional religion.

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  2. Dad! They’re making too much noise!
    Dad! They’re going to cause trouble!
    Dad! They’re going to stop listening to you!

    The words of the letter to King Ataxerxes remind me of petulant children who want their way. Fortunately the king was not a man who listened without conscience or independent thought. While he halted construction, he did not return things to where they had been. He halted construction, but we are not told that he impeded worship in any way.

    Oh yes, patience was definitely needed, but there was no cause for mourning. It was still a time worthy of celebration. I wonder what the people did. Frustrated? Definitely. Angered? Perhaps. Still excited and overwhelmed to be able to worship in the land of their ancestors at the altar of God? Definitely! So… how about today? Is there something that we should be celebrating that we are losing sight of behind our frustrations?

    Heavenly Father, open my eyes and my heart to know you. Teach me to move my body in your rhythm and to bring others into your dance. Teach us all to take our many emotions and use them with compassion and love.

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  3. “Who can separate us from the love of God?” Romans 8:35

    The returned exiles found an inner space first, then the outer one of the temple.

    “Destroy this temple and in three days I’ll raise up one not made by hands.” John 2:19

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  4. And what a Temple it is!! One that is not only full of the presence of God, but IS the presence of God. One that is not just a place to go worship, but is worthy of worship. One that not only exists, but LOVES!

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