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Dramatic Monologue: Rebuild!
by Kelly in Alberta, Canada
based on Isaiah 65:17-25
My name is Sarah and I am one of the few left. I am one of the few Israelites who has come back home, back to the Promised land. Oh, I cry when I see what is left, what a mess. So much work to do. It is so overwhelming. I am tired already and we haven't even begun the work. I have survived, isn't that enough? I have remained faithful to God. I have trusted in the Lord through all this. What more could you ask of me? How dare anyone ask me to work?! I am so tired.
The Word of the Lord came to the prophet Haggai. He spoke to the governor, the high priest and to the rest of us, well, what was left of us. Haggai said, "Who is left among you that saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Is it but nothing in your sight?"
Its true, there is nothing but rubble left of the Temple. My heart is broken. I can hardly bare it.
"Who is left among you that saw this house in its former glory?" the Lord of hosts asks the remnants of what was once a great nation.
I remember, I was but a child, oh, so many years ago - 49 years ago. Forty-nine years ago we where sent into exile, taken over, our homes destroyed, the Temple destroyed by the Babylonians!
Do you know what this means? Do you know what the implications are of being sent away from God's land? I don't think you do, so let me explain.
To truly understand what kind of impact this exile had on us, you must understand how we understand of the presence of God in the land of Zion.
The first thing I must tell you is that God promised us a king. King David was our first king and all kings that came after were of David's line. David's line would rule forever, it was promised by God. The Babylonians have over thrown the Davidic king. Where is God?
The next thing I must tell you is that the Temple in Jerusalem is God's permanent home. The Babylonians have destroyed the temple, the house of God. Where is God? How could God possibly dwell among us without the Temple to channel the divine presence?
Again, we Israelites have suffered through a desert experience. This time we had been given the promises and traditions from God. Where is God? Why did God let this happen? Why is God not protecting us? Are we worshipping the right god or are the Babylonians worshipping the one true god?
I sat down by the rivers of Babylon and cried. I cried with my mother and father, my sisters and brothers. How could we sing the Lord's song in a foreign land? God and the Land are tightly wrapped up in each other. We are lost without the Land. We are alone without the Land. We are without God without the Land. Praise God, the Persians over threw the Babylonians! It took 49 years, and I am now a very old woman but we now have hope. Free at last, free at last, we can go home. This return to the Land is surely a sign that God was still at work.
Our prophet Haggai says that this is the dawn of a new age for Israel. God will truly be present with us. God will truly bless us. But we must work, and I am not sure I have the energy for that.
I hear that this church had some difficulties too. I hear that this church experienced an exodus too and all that is left is the remnants. I hear that people are tired but there is still so much work to do. I hear that people are tired but the roof needs fixing. I hear that people are tired but the walls need painting. I hear that people are tired but children still need to be taught about the Lord. I hear that people are tired but this is still a desire to people to gather around a meal.
Our prophet Haggai, says God has something to say to all that. God says "Now take courage, all you people of the land, take courage, work, for I am with you. I am with you according to my promise I made when you came out of Egypt. My spirit is with you. Do not fear. Take courage.
You may reminisce about the good old days, like we reminisce about the good old days: the days before strife, before turmoil. I have heard about those days: when the economy was booming and young couples were coming to this land. The days when young couples where having children and the church was one big family.
Yes, every generation reminisces about days gone past. The Lord tells us through our prophet, Haggai to remember the past. Remember the good old days and let those past visions inspire you to dream new dreams. Haggai tells us to move on, to work, to take courage for the Lord is with us.
For us Israelites, the Lord is with us in the new temple that Haggai will help us build. For you it is in the people that are gathered. For you Christian where ever two or more are gathered in his name, the Lord is there. For you Christians, rebuilding the church means gathering the people, sharing the bread and the wine, gather around a baptism. For you Christians rebuilding the church means sharing coffee together, reading the Bible together, laughing and crying together. For it is in those places that God is.
"Take courage, work, for I am with you", says the Lord. Amen.
Frank Schaefer, for JavaCasa Resources and the Desperate Preacher's Site, 1999