Scripture Reading — Ezra 6:19-22
The Israelites … ate [the Passover] … in order to seek the LORD, the God of Israel.
Ezra 6:21 —
Seeking God is not only a personal and private exercise; it is also done in community. In fact, it is best done in community. When history ends, a company of people that no one can count will gather before the throne and worship the God we have sought throughout all our pilgrim years. (See Revelation 7.)
When people seek God together, with one heart and mind, wonderful things can happen. In our passage today, the priests, along with many returned exiles, rediscovered joy. They had spent many years in Babylon, lamenting their exile from their homeland. They were told horror stories of a flattened Jerusalem and a demolished temple. Now they were home, and, with the support of the Persian Empire, the temple had been rebuilt. It was now time to celebrate the Passover again—this time at home in the restored temple in Jerusalem. Nothing could contain the people’s joy as together they offered their sacrifices to God.
This was a group project. Together the people rejected the ungodly ways of peoples around them. Locking arms and hearts, they celebrated for seven days, and as they did, the Lord filled them with joy.
It’s hard to imagine any other outcome. When seekers come together, God makes his presence known, and he fills us with joy.
Father, lead us to those who seek you, and link our hearts together so that we may find joy in you. Then help us to share your love and goodness with others. In Jesus, Amen