Sermon, 1.4.2009"Meet Nehemiah" Rev. Erik Bonkovsky Nehemiah 1:1-3
Central to the book of Nehemiah is the idea of home, the familiarity of it, and the desire to go home that we as human beings have buried inside of us. We long for peace, but our hearts are exiled from God. Nehemiah is known for rebuilding a city, and he shares this purpose with Franklin Street: to rebuild a city for God. As Jerusalem, Richmond has a history of brokenness, fracture, and friction. So we have a lot in common with Nehemiah, and some of his struggles and victories will doubtless speak to our situation in particular.
For all of Nehemiah's efforts, ultimately he is a failure as far as tangible results go. Every time he turns his back, he sees that the Jews are backsliding. The failure in this tale is important, because it highlights the absolute salvation that we now have available to us: that Christ heals peoples' hearts and it lasts forever.