By the Spirit of God we have all been united together as one body, one people; not only we who are here in this local congregation but together with all those who confess the Triune Name throughout the world, having been baptized in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We are Christians, confessing Christ and living as His representatives in the world. And what this means is that we have a kinship together, a kinship more fundamental than any other kinship. Before ties of family; before ties of ethnicity; before ties of nationality come the ties that join us together by faith in the Son of God who gave Himself for us that He might bring us to Himself and unite us with one another. Before I am a Bryan, I am a Christian; before I am of Scots-Irish descent, I am a Christian; before I am an Idahoan, I am a Christian; before I am an American, I am a Christian. Consequently, the struggles, hardships, and joys of Christians throughout the world and of my Christian brethren here are my struggles, my hardships, my joys. And it is this that Nehemiah’s response to the news from Jerusalem teaches us. What does it mean to be part of the people of God? What does it mean to live in covenant? It means to identify with and pray for these people who are my people.