And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord , “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.” And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. (EZR 3:11 ESV)
It is striking that, above all, these returnees rejoice in the foundation of the temple being rebuilt. It is not their own wealth or freedom, but their identity as God’s people that most moves them.
This stands in stark contrast to the individualism of our culture. Our inclination is to build our identity on something much more individualistic, such as our work or reputation. And yet, can you imagine a world in which Christians draw their identity from Christ’s church?