I have the honor of being the writer for Forward Movement’s November 2013 meditations. With thanks to Forward, I’ll be posting the meditation here every day. You can view the whole text at:

Nehemiah 12:43. They offered great sacrifices that day and rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy.

God calls us to rejoice, even in the toughest of times.

Several weeks ago, I stood with a family at a hillside grave, reciting the words from the Burial Office in The Book of Common Prayer: “All we go down to the dust; yet even at the grave we make our song: Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia” (p. 483).

Tough, yet comforting words. We rejoiced because the deceased now sees God face to face. We rejoiced because one day we will stand beside our loved ones in heaven, never to be separated again. We rejoiced because God promises us eternal life.

God calls us to rejoice, even in the toughest of times. When Nehemiah finished those fifty-two days of building the new and strong walls around Jerusalem, God “made them rejoice with great joy.” The city was no longer in ruins. The exiles would have their spiritual home to which they might return. There was hope once again.

We are a people of hope, of resiliency, of faith. We are a people who, even at the grave, make our song: Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.