It is a weary crew that gathers to worship in the ruins of the temple in the book of Nehemiah. A long time has passed since the people gathered in a house of worship. It is different, smaller. Nehemiah reads the words of God's law, newly rediscovered by his people. The people weep in its hearing, and maybe it isn't difficult to understand why: some who are with them remember the grandeur of the old temple, and here the reader of the scriptures is just standing on a wooden platform, whatever could be found and slapped together. How far they had fallen.


And maybe there was another reason to weep. We might pause at the idea that God's Law is given for our good. But the reading of the Law was a reminder that there were fences, a right and wrong, and if fences then a realm. And if there's a realm there's also a kingdom that commands the realm, and a king that commands the kingdom. And if there's a king then they are not lost there in the rubble, and neither are we though there are ruins around us. There is a King still, these worshippers would have remembered. There is a King forever.