Weekly Update – 23rd July
I recently came across a reading from the Book of Nehemiah (12.27-43). It described the planning for the dedication of the Wall of Jerusalem after being rebuilt. The Book of Nehemiah is a story of the rebuilding of Jerusalem following the exile of the Jews in Babylon.
This particular reading describes the arrangements in detail for a large procession as part of the dedication of the completed wall. Musicians, choirs and priests are gathered from the villages surrounding Jerusalem to form the procession. The route of the procession is described, step by step and turn by turn, together with positions of everyone in the line. This is a plan carefully constructed for the worship in this important event of dedication. The reading ends by saying: “The sound of rejoicing in Jerusalem could be heard far away.” Such was the scale of the procession and the worship – the outcome of Nehemiah’s careful planning – that it was heard beyond the walls of Jerusalem.
I took the opportunity this week to use the reading in the act of worship and prayer at the start of our PCC meeting this week. It seemed relevant to me, as the account in Nehemiah shows that organisational and administrative activity (finance, planning, review and discussion) often sits closely alongside worship and prayer.
A few days ago, marked the 48th anniversary of the consecration of the current church building here at St Nicholas. The 12th July 1975 saw the culmination of many years of fundraising, organisation, planning and building. There is a small stone plaque below the cross at the front of church that marks the occasion when the Archbishop of Canterbury led the worship to dedicate and consecrate our church.
The example of Nehemiah is one of a lay person – a secular administrator – using their organisation and administrative skills and being guided by God to bring about the rebuilding of Jerusalem. We are told “The sound of rejoicing in Jerusalem could be heard far away.” The impact of his planning extended beyond the immediate vicinity. It is an example to us that we all have a role in using our own particular skills in the name of Christ, to serve God and our impact should aim beyond our immediate area.
Over the last 48 years people here at St Nicholas, have continued the organisation and planning, alongside worship and prayer, to serve God in our community. Looking to the future, the PCC is currently putting the final touches to the Parish Profile – which is our statement of our vision and our mission for the future. So that we can continue to reach out into our community in the name of Christ and to serve God here in Allington.
Almighty an everlasting God,
by whose Spirit the whole body of the Church
is governed and sanctified:
hear our prayer which we offer for all your faithful people,
that in our vocation and ministry, we may serve you in truth and holiness,
to the glory of your name;
through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
who is alive and reign with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.