St. John’s EBCs, Everyday Bible Conversations!
For the week leading to worship, Sunday, November 17th.
This week’s Theme: Be You the Great!
Reading: Ezra 1:1-4; 3:1-4, 10-13
Summary of the Reading
This week’s reading recounts the remarkable events leading to the rebuilding of the Temple and Jerusalem. The Persian king Cyrus the Great conquered an enormous empire spanning across Turkey all the way to India. Rather than ruling through oppression and assimilation, King Cyrus adopted a strategy of permitting his imperial subjects to practice their own religions. Using Cyrus’ earthly tendencies, God stirred up the spirit in Cyrus and caused Cyrus to direct the conquered and exiled tribes of Judah back to Jerusalem, to their homeland, where they were permitted to rebuild the Temple. When the Jews dedicated the foundation of the new Temple, it was a joyous and celebratory event, but one clearly also filled with sadness; the Bible tells us that the sounds of joy mixed with the sounds of weeping were incredible and indistinguishable.
A Discipleship Question:
Jewish history is filled with war, with Jews both as the conquered and the conquerors. In this rare turn of events, God delivers the Jewish people and restores the Temple through the aid of a comparatively benevolent foreign power. In what ways today does God use the kindness of unexpected people to do his works? Have you been the recipient of unexpected kindness? The giver of unexpected kindness? What’s the story?
An Everyday Question:
Can you imagine a more wonderful event than the rededication of the Temple? Yet, the Jewish people experience intense joy and sadness at the same time in starting to rebuild. What do you imagine are the sources of their joy? The sources of their sadness? What life events give you both joy and sadness? Why?
An Action Step:
Be an unexpected instrument of God’s kindness. Be You the Great!
Don’t like these questions? Does Ezra say something different to you? Great! What it is?
Find a friend (or two or many) and take an EBC coffee break! Find 15-25 minutes somewhere in the week and come to share or just listen enjoy company. Have fun finding God this week in your Everyday life. y Life!