Joy and weeping in one voic

Ezra 3:11-13


I OFTEN NOTICE two kinds of expressions in our churches. One is nostalgia for the past and the other is enthusiasm for the future. Nostalgia leads to weeping as we think of past glories. Enthusiasm always rejoices over the bright future.


We cannot brush aside either of these expressions. But we should be careful that these two expressions do not work against each other and hinder our progress.


The Lord moved the heart of King Cyrus of Persia to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. He challenged the Jews from various walks of life, gave them all the resources needed and sent them to rebuild the temple.


In that group there were those who had seen the glory of the temple in the past. There were also the youth who went with a dream for the future. In obedience to God, they revived their daily worship by rebuilding the altar. Before rebuilding the temple they offered burnt offerings daily (Ezra 3:2-3). Then they laid the foundation for the temple (Ezra 3:11).


Building the new temple gave hope to the Jews. It was indeed a happy occasion to many of the Jews. But it was not going to be like the old magnificent temple, so some felt sad.


It was then we see these two kinds of expressions, “shouts of joy and the sound of weeping” (Ezra 3:13). Interestingly, they were combined – the past and the present united to work for the future.


The old and the young came together to build the temple of the Lord. Feelings of nostalgia and enthusiasm agreed together to be one voice. That sound was heard far away. The enthusiastic shouts of praises were so exuberant and the loud sound of weeping mingled with the shouts of joy. People could not tell them apart.


We may belong to one of these two groups: nostalgic for the past or enthusiastic for the future. We need to remind ourselves that we have to move on towards a bright future. It is possible only when we join together to build for God’s glory. Our nostalgia or enthusiasm should not separate us; rather it should bind us together for a common cause.


Shouts of joy and the sound of weeping unite together as one dominant voice. To me, this is the unity of the church. Let people hear one voice from us and let it be heard from far away.


The Rev R. Prabhu is the President of Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference.