1 And all the people gathered as one man at the square which was in front of the Water Gate, and they asked Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses which the LORD had given to Israel. 2 Then Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly of men, women and all who could listen with understanding, on the first day of the seventh month. 3 He read from it before the square which was in front of the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of men and women, those who could understand; and all the people were attentive to the book of the law. 4 Ezra the scribe stood at a wooden podium which they had made for the purpose. And beside him stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah on his right hand; and Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah and Meshullam on his left hand. 5 Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up. 6 Then Ezra blessed the LORD the great God. And all the people answered, “Amen, Amen!” while lifting up their hands; then they bowed low and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground. 7 Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, the Levites, explained the law to the people while the people remained in their place. 8 They read from the book, from the law of God, translating to give the sense so that they understood the reading. Nehemiah 8:1-8 (NASB)
Preaching has been an important element for any people known as the Lord’s people. Both Old and New Testaments give examples of this gathering of people for the purpose of hearing an appointed preacher read Scripture and then explain that Scripture. May this continue to be the center of what happens when the Lord’s people gather at 204 Eastland Drive North.
The focus of the gathering is God. And should always be so. I do like that the Scripture does give a glimpse of the work and attention given to the construction of the place where this takes place. It is a public place. It is a place where all who can understand gather. It is a place that is designed for the proclamation of the word. It is an place that must be protected against the influences of the most recent popular trends. It is a place for hearers to understand not a place for intellectuals to boast.
Here are some recent photos of the construction of the podium and pulpit now in place in the new meeting house of Eastside Baptist Church. May the Lord bless the craftsmen.