This morning I realized just how long it had been since I had processed my thoughts as a part of my daily devotional routine. As I read through the word annually, certain moments seem to come to life in parallel ways with my own. Such were the results in today’s a.m. read in the third chapter of Ezra.
There has been a growing sense of need for renewal in my spirit, long overdue after being held captive by so many distractions due to my many ventures both political and professional. There is something about captivity that creates hunger for days where spiritual liberty and abundant harvest seemed more evident.
This chapter follows the authorization of Cyrus, King of Persia, to return and rebuild the Temple, lost from these captive lives for then over 70 years. Many were alive, who once knew the beauty of Solomon’s temple, and holding residual intensity deep in their bones as a memory of miraculous God visited worship moments. There was something about being home, having their own dirt once more under their feet, in their case, Jerusalem.
Their response to this proclamation by the King, accompanied by an abundant inventory of silver, gold, money, artisans, food, drink and even cedar logs was to first build an altar, catching up on their pent up need for praise, sacrifice and ritual, traditions that lay dormant for the most part in Babylon, by then, under control of Persia.
Eventually, they laid the foundation for a new temple, at which point the Elders wept aloud and the new generation shouted for joy, creating a noise heard far away! This is where my interest piqued.
Were the Elders simply overwhelmed by the reality that what they had thought lost was somehow now sovereignly recovered? The younger perhaps thrilled with a fresh vision of God, heretofore only dreamed of, but never actually touched upon, except in their context-less interpretation as they listened to the tired stories of “the good ole days”, while growing up among the elders in their providential captivity.
Can you sense where I am going? We seem to be sitting on a similar and sovereign divide between two generations, the older offering only stories and a failed paradigm for church that is no longer attractive enough for the Next’ers to even support; yet, there is something so deep in the bones of the aging that they are unwilling to relinquish the old, in hopes that one day what they have experienced, even built this once thriving nation upon, will in some way be revived.
The younger generation is excited by more than their music and lights, equally desiring a meaningful “God” experience, finding a new release of their smothered spirits. Naive of the pain that this sort of counter culture stand will eventually cost them, yet, with that innocence, energy for celebration and renewal, so necessary to bring about deep transformation.
I sense that we are there again, on the cusp of a sovereign renewal, just as history has repeatedly chronicled, about every 500 years.
Excited to the bone!