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I’ve read the end of Nehemiah. Having rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem they’re rebuilding its community:

‘These were the priests and Levites who returned with Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and with Jeshua: Seraiah, Jeremiah, Ezra, Amariah, Malluch, Hattush, Shecaniah, Rehum, Meremoth…’ The list continues. Name after name after name…

I enjoy reading the Bible. Stories and lessons to learn from, poems and wise sayings to reflect on. But lists of names? Usually people skip over them or make jokes about unpronounceable names.

Meremoth was an individual who lived, had a family and home, ate, drank, chatted to the market traders, was concerned about local politics…

I enjoyed a walk on the beach. It’s a beautiful morning here in Lowestoft…

I met Mick. With his wife Mary he met with his brothers and their wives last week and enjoyed their postponed Christmas meal together…

I met Ann. Her son’s moved up to Norwich. Her younger son was out for a run and is revising for exams. I’d seen her husband last week…

I chatted to the lady cleaning outside the Jolly Sailors. She’d been furloughed through lockdown but was pleased to be back at work…

Ordinary people who could just be Meremoths – names on a list… but they’re valued individuals with their own concerns and stories to tell.

Andrew Greystone concludes his book ‘Faith, Hope and Mischief’ by explaining why his understanding of these three characteristics are vital to his life:

Faith means ‘…deciding to believe that there is a big picture that governs history.’

Hope means ‘…choosing to believe that the world’s story is going to end well.’

Mischief means ‘…instead of being immobilised by my impotence or insignificance, I look for joyful, cheeky, unorthodox ways to shift the status quo.’

Faith, hope and mischief move Meremoths from being an anonymous name on a list to be positively, optimistically, actively involved. I choose to be a Meremoth.

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