Playing in the Streets

Steven Bouma-Prediger

READ : Zechariah 8:1-8

And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets. (v. 5)

I vividly remember as a kid playing baseball across the street from my house. We weren’t actually in the street, but occasionally a foul ball would take us out onto the street. Perhaps you remember something similar—the neighborhood boys and girls playing in the streets, or maybe in your backyard or at the local playground. Lots of chatter and laughter and banter. Unselfconscious and unstructured (by parents) activity. Except for an occasional scraped knee or tussle after a ball, a happy time of joy-filled play.

In this rather obscure text, the prophet Zechariah describes the return of God to Jerusalem. Jerusalem will be a place of hospitality, where old men and old women sit in the streets, sipping their lemonade and telling stories of delicious Thanksgiving dinners and of big fish that got away. And where boys and girls will play kickball and chess and capture the flag. All will be well. Jerusalem, finally, a place of shalom.

Though this seems impossible to us, the prophet says, it is not impossible for God. For God is faithful and righteous. Because of God’s character, we can lean into this stunning and play-filled vision of God’s good future—this reminder that after exile there is homecoming.


God of new beginnings, of homecoming after exile, give us hope that we will play in the streets of your kingdom coming.