Scripture: Nehemiah 6: 1-9
On January 20th 2021, we all listened mesmerized and energized by the words of youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman as she read her inaugural poem ‘The Hill We Climb’. The first line of her poem reads “When day comes we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never-ending shade?” Shrouded in grief and tragedy, the shade of a global pandemic, disproportionately impacting communities of color and exacerbated by the pre-existing condition that is environmental racism, still looms over us in this moment. Our communities both local and global are suffering, with millions rendered unemployed, homeless, food insecure and vulnerable health wise. Where indeed can we find light in this never-ending shade? As Nehemiah and the returning exiles rebuilt the wall around Jerusalem, the experienced many dangers, toils and snares from those around them, a never-ending shade of torment from which they needed to creatively respond. “But now, O Lord, strengthen my hands”, Nehemiah’s prayer, can be for all of us as we rebuild our world today.