A redeeming personal presence (Ezra 4; Romans 3)(From the Book of Common Prayer Lectionary, Matins Twelve Week after Trinity )
‘Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building, and hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia.’ ‘Give ye new commandment to cause these men to cease, and that this city be not built, until another commandment shall be given from me’
There will be always hindrances in building the Kingdom of God! Artaxerxes, the king listened to the ‘reports’. Worldly power is always suspicious - and does not recognise the grace of God.
In some way, Paul’s letter ties in well with this hindered history. This is the person of Christ, in whom God’s redemptive love shines through and breaks our present open to desired changes. There is something unsurpassable joy to be a Christian, a follower of Christ. When the ‘weight of Arthaxerxeses’ does not leave a breathing space for history, a person, the person of our Lord is the solution. His personal love can go through all the inertia, and mistrust, accumulated in politics, public life, and personal circumstances. ‘For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.’
These are verbal Icons, expressions of how the world is seen from Saint Augustine's..