Nehemiah 9:1-38

Today’s Reading is Nehemiah 9:1-38.
Ezra-Nehemiah and Chronicles combined are the works of a Chronicler’s History. Today’s passage has their theology in a nutshell: when the people ignore God things are going bad. So here we have – once again – a huge service of penitence.
The one thing that struck me most in this liturgy is the ‘bulletin style’ it has. We get to read an outline of the service and even extensive lists of people participating:
– Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani. They prayed aloud to the LORD their God.
– The following Levites gave a call to worship: Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah.
Those are not simply ancient and hard-to-pronounce names but actually fellow worshippers of ours as well. We use their texts, their rites. They are us. The list might include your name or lay liturgists in your church, the deacons and readers and Sunday school teachers and everybody who plays a role in the worship event. The overall message is: names matter because people do.

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