I wonder if you have ever visited a set of ruins?
Perhaps a Castle, an ancient Abbey, or former stately home. Through neglect, disuse and historical acts of vandalism, in Great Britain, we are left with these remnants of once magnificent structures. We can only use our imaginations to picture what was once a thriving hub of activity and is now a heap of rubble.
I often find, as I look at a pile of stones and try and picture a magnificent hall, I have a feeling of sadness. To me the stones seem to cry out “I once was something worth marvelling at.” Ruins always have a feel of “once was” about them.
Many of our ruins are in their present condition because they were not required, or fit for purpose, or just too expensive to repair and maintain. Society moved on and these structures were no longer viable.
That is the thing with society. It has a tendency to change and develop.
I remember a visit to one abbey and hearing about its history. As the monks moved away and the buildings fell into disrepair, many of the local people used parts of the abbey to repair their homes, build walls around their fields and construct amenities for their community.
As society changed, these buildings did not die, they lived on in different ways.
I suppose, what got me thinking about ruins is a passage I was reading in the Biblical book of Ezra. Ezra was living and working in Jerusalem at the time of major re-building work. His concern was especially for the re-building of the temple.
This is what Ezra says;
He has granted us new life to rebuild the house of our God and repair its ruins, and he has given us a wall of protection in Judah and Jerusalem.
(Ezra 9 vs. 9)
These words got me thinking about all that has happened in our community and church life over the past couple of years. I believe, that we are at a time of re-building. But, like those ruins of old, there are some things that will need to be re-purposed. There are some things that we will need to leave behind. There are some things that will need to be, lovingly, restored.
In the time of Ezra, the people came together to re-build the city.
I wonder if the same could happen today?
Could you be part of the re-building?