Keep it Together (Ezra 1-3)

I always get mildly excited when I start a new chapter of the Bible, in the hopes that it will be less boring and crammed with names and details than the previous one. The excitment is on par with what I feel when I see that I can get fifty times the Optimum points if I spend over fifty dollars at Shoppers Drug Mart on a Saturday. I often take advantage of these points days and walk out with my arms full of toilet paper which makes me uncomfortable since I don’t like people perceiving me as the kind of person who spends a lot of time in the washroom.

No such luck. The first few chapters of the Book of Ezra are dull, dull, DU-HULL.

These chapters concern Cyrus, king of Persia, who turns out to be kind of a patron of the Jews. I guess he feels bad for them and he helps them rebuild the house of the Lord (again?) and escape from captivity in Babylon. There are no interesting descriptions of how the Jew break free of the chains that Nebuchadnezzar put them in and, in any case, he doesn’t put up much of a protest when they leave. Maybe he’s softened in his old age. But the Bible does list all the families who manage to return to Jerusalem. And it is a long list. LA-ONG.

Anyways, once the house of the Lord is all shined up (again), everybody celebrates big time and “many shouted aloud for joy; so that the people could not distinguish the sound of joyful shout from the sound of the people’s weeping, for people shouted with a great shout” (Ezr 3:13). I don’t know. That doesn’t sound good to me. I want joyful shouting to sound like joyful shouting and weeping to sound like weeping and, by extension, screaming to sound like screaming and laughing to sound like laughing. It’s usually not a good thing when any of these get mixed up.

Acceptable – joyful shouting + laughing

Not Acceptable – joyful shouting + screaming OR weeping + screaming OR joyful shouting + screaming

Weeping and screaming together is especially bad. When I cry – and I don’t that often in my waking life (that’s another story) – I always hope to look like Jackie Kennedy at JFK’s funeral: poised, with a single tear streaking my face. Clearly emotional but keeping it together.

Break-ups are the worst.

Published in: on October 26, 2011 at 2:46 am  Leave a Comment  
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