Today was fun. For the first time in a long while the Twin Cities had a full day of warm sunshine. I was able to enjoy it working outside on a Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity work site. Eight members of Resurrection Lutheran joined fourteen others on a new build at 522 Thomas Avenue in St. Paul, MN. We pounded nails, cut boards and lifted roof trusses. We ate pizza and drank lots of water. As I said, it was fun.
I had the opportunity to lead a short devotion before the work began. I centered it on the book of Nehemiah and their rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem after the exile. The people had become discouraged because their capital city was in chaotic disrepair. The most grievous symbol of that brokenness was their wall. For people of that time, a walled city was sign of protection and vitality.
We no longer need city walls for safety, but we still need to rebuild walls of shelter for others ins our city. The previous house at the Habitat site had become a drug haven and the city closed and condemned it. Now Habitat has the opportunity to rebuild and reclaim this neighborhood with a new home and enthusiastic homeowners. Though no homeowner has yet been selected for this home, I am confident that Habitat will select a family that will invest in their home and neighborhood.
My favorite verse from Nehemiah is “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). I experienced that joy today working with others and so thankful that their joy gave me strength.