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Pastor Bill Kerns
Davis Memorial Christian Church
TAYLORVILLE — Babylon had invaded Judah. The Babylonians destroyed the Temple complex, other parts of Jerusalem and many prominent Judeans were kid- napped and taken to Babylon. Those who remained in Judah and those exiled were crushed spiritually and emotionally.
Besides being conquered by a foreign power, the Jews sacred center (Temple complex) was demolished. This catastrophe raised many questions. Who is going to lead? What do we do next? Why did God allow this to happen? Where is God now?
What Christians today once understood about the uni- versal church has fallen apart. We have been angered and heartbroken by scandals. Too many church folks are arrogant and judgmental. We have lost our influence and ignored in our communities. These are some of the reasons for the why so many congregations have declined or closed.
The past fifteen months we have dealt with a pandemic, racial unrest, economic recession, and political tensions. This has placed more stress on churches. It is over- whelming and tiring.
“But we do not give up. There is much to be hopeful for as a faith community.
Let us go back to story of the Babylonian capture and destruction of Jerusalem’s temple complex.
Persia conquered Babylon. Nehemiah asked the Persian king permission to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple and city. The King granted his request. Through faith in God, he was able to overcome opposi- tion, obstacles, and people’s doubts to successfully revive the Jewish faith.
The second Temple was not the same as the first one but served the same purpose as the first Temple. People had to rethink of how they understood and worshipped God. Jerusalem and Judah residents had to relearn how to live God’s ways.
Churches are to continue living God’s ways, spread the Great News of God, and serve Christ and others. But we are going to have to rethink and relearn of how to be the kind of church God expects of us. May all of God’s churches continue spending time in prayer understand- ing how we can become a 21st century church.