Devotion: God of this City

Scripture records twice that Jesus, the Son of God, wept.

John 11:35–Jesus weeps over the news that a man has died.  We are told that Jesus “was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.”  The pain of death causes the God of Life to stop and cry.

Luke 19:41–Jesus weeps over Jerusalem.  As he enters the city to His own death, he stops on the roadside and weeps for this city.  Through his tears he exclaims: “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace…” but instead the city ignored the searing pain Jesus was about to go through.  They sought to destroy God and each other.

This week my prayer has been: “Lord, break my heart for what breaks yours.”  

After a challenging week in Charlotte, I cannot help but think that Jesus has stopped to weep for Keith Lamont Scott and our city.

I have prayed Ezekiel 36:26 for our community: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”

So what breaks your heart?

When Jerusalem had been destroyed through the Assyrian and Babylonian exiles, leaders rose up. Ezra, a religious leader helped to rebuild the faith community. Esther, a common woman found herself in the royal castle able to affect change.  And Nehemiah, a businessman–a court official–helped to rebuild the city laying in rubble.

He did it though he “was very much afraid” (2:3). He conquered his fear through prayer (2:4) and then executed a brilliant plan.  He charged everybody to work shoulder to shoulder on the wall around Jerusalem.  No matter how small the rock or the effort, together they could rebuild the city of God.  The working class stood along side the Levite priests, skilled craftsman worked with ordinary day laborers, even the children pitched in, the wealthy of Myers Park stood beside the immigrants of East Charlotte and residents of West Charlotte (3:28-32, the CLT communities are not in there,

but you get the point).  They removed debris, hoisted rocks and leveled the uneven places.  Nehemiah challenged them: “Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be a disgrace.”

So, the challenge for us is how can we do one thing today that will rebuild this city?  And who can we stand beside while doing it?

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