Rebuilding the walls in a digital global village? (@darrenrhill)


The community of Liverpool has been shaped by the Hillsborough disaster. Ninety-six lives were lost before the start of a football match, and since that time the city has grieved and waited for answers. Recent disasters, such as the loss of the Malaysian Airways flight and the ferry from South Korea, will shape the communities and nations directly affected.

When Judah went into exile, it was a disaster for the nation. Everything they had hoped for and lived for was taken. When the exile ended, and the events recorded in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah took place, the exile shaped the community that emerged. They rebuilt the walls, rebuilt the Temple and tried to live lives according to the Law. Nehemiah shows us a determination to try and recapture former glory after the event of the exile. Hindsight shows us that the former things weren’t obtained. The Bible says that it wasn’t until the time of Jesus, that God once again ‘tabernacled’ with the people (John 1: 14).

Rebuilding Walls

Events shape us, disasters more so. How we respond is what defines us. Do we respond by reverting to the past? Do we go back to basics and claim a moral supremacy? If Nehemiah had taken a quick glance back in time he would have seen that adherence to the Law didn’t go hand in hand with the mighty reigns of David and Solomon.

I am old enough to remember the good old days of the Internet, and be a part of them. The good old days when speech was free, adverts weren’t popping up everywhere and big business and the need for profit hadn’t yet throttled what your friends said.

The Internet has been used to plot, plan and promote disaster. How do we respond? Do we lock up the chat rooms? Do we block the conversations? It is the same Internet that has also set people free! The same Internet that is raising millions of pounds for good causes!

We could build digital walls. We could long for the good old days, that only ever existed in a rose-tinted nostalgic memories. We could try and exert a rigid moral code. Or… we could let God ‘dwell’ in what we do and see where the redeemer would like to lead us.

About Darren Hill