March 3, 2011
Dear Members and Friends of St. Andrew’s,
In general, the books of Ezra and Nehemiah address the story of the people of Israel as they begin their return to Jerusalem. These two books are fascinating and faithful books chronicling their community as it ends a period of exile of a few generations and shifts to the rebuilding of the community of faith. Not only does this include the beginnings of the reconstruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, but this also includes the rebuilding of their very community fabric. The blessings of God and their faith accompanied them in this process.
All of us have experienced in our own way an exile these past five weeks. There are some of us who experienced an evacuation from the home community and being relocated to a faraway place. Leaving behind routines and patterns as well as cherished friends is a difficult process.
Some of us may not have been relocated, but were exiled away from normal activities of life by prevailing insecurities in our local neighborhoods and city.
On a more personal and spiritual level, we were exiled away from peace and personal security, having experienced to varying degrees real fear during these transition times in Egypt. The fact that the worshiping community at St. Andrew’s did not gather together for close to a month is a powerful exile from the community of faith.
We are reminded that Ezra and Nehemiah tell the story of a faithful community about coming together again after exile. We are out and about in the city again. Many friends have returned. We cautiously look forward to a new normal to be established in our city. We, too, can trust that God will direct and guide us in God’s peace.
Importantly, our services have resumed their normal schedule at 10am on Fridays and 7pm on Sunday evenings. Again, we can come together as community to hear God’s promises for us through Christ. I look forward to seeing you tomorrow or Sunday.
Sincerely in Christ,
Pastor Peter Johnson