Thus the work on the house of God in Jerusalem came to a standstill until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.
Ezra 4:24 (NIV)
I was in my freshman acting class at Judson College. Students were split into pairs and given a generic conversational script. It was up to the pair to create a scenario, characters, and a setting. One pair of actors got up and played the scene as two friends sitting on a park bench talking. The scene played out with them sitting there saying the lines to each other.
As the professor led us through observing what took place, he deftly got the class to acknowledge that the scene didn’t work because there wasn’t any conflict. It was then that I dusted off a memory of my junior high English class, when I was taught that that every good story, in print or on stage, has both a protagonist and and antagonist. I good story must have conflict. It’s just the way it works.
I believe that all good stories are a reflection of the Great Story that God, the author of Life, is telling from Genesis through Revelation. As such, the work and will of God will always encounter opposition in this world. When good is at work evil will attempt to thwart it. When evil is at work, it is the responsibility of those of us who call ourselves good to truly and justly respond.
In today’s chapter, God is at work in the Hebrew exiles attempting to rebuild the worship of God in Jerusalem. The surrounding neighbors don’t want this to happen and they appeal to the ruling authority in Persia. Utilizing political leverage, the opposition briefly wins the battle in the king’s court. The conflict ebbs and flows.
Today, I’m reminded that in this world the forces of both good and evil exist and remain perpetually in conflict. Just as I must choose whom I will serve, so I should be ever mindful of whom I stand in opposition and my duty to do so.
featured graphic: 31721843@N07 via flickr