The smells of rotting corpses and burning buildings overwhelmed the senses of the few survivors who made their way out of the smoldering city of Jerusalem. There was a numbness which was paralyzing. That the silent procession would only end 600 miles later in a place called Babylon did not seem to register to the people. The only feeling they experienced was nothingness. There was nothing to stay for, nothing to go to Babylon for…really, there was nothing to live for. They had lost their families, homes, possessions, even their freedom. And God? If he even existed, they thought, what could he do in a situation like this? Their lives were much like their city, heaps of ashes.

Fast forward seven decades. It’s about the year 500 BC. Another small procession of Israelites is on a journey. This time, however, their travels will take them back to their homeland. They are different, very different from those who had been exiled to Babylon. This group knew God existed and believed he still had a destiny for their nation. They returned weak and vulnerable, but fully convinced there is only one Lord and one God – the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

The rebuilding process was agonizing, long and very humble. But that generation of Jewish refugees who returned to their decimated land had made a beginning. And then there was silence – 400 years of silence until from the ash heaps of Jerusalem, the shout came from a lone preacher in the wilderness, “The Messiah has come! Open your hearts!”

Whatever you are going through in your life, God’s mercies are new, every day – even in the ash heap.

Worship service times: Saturday: 6:00 pm, Sunday: 9:00 am & 10:30 am.