Good morning friends! Today is the final section in "part 1" of Ezekiel. Panic not, we don't have a great deal left. Part 2 is very short, only a few more days of study for this. There is a drastic tone shift in part 2 towards more "positive" and "loving" attributes of God and God's mercy. It also very strongly alludes to Jesus and God's plan to come as Jesus. For these reasons, I can't help but wonder if this, much like the extended ending of Mark, is a later addition to Ezekiel words as today's reading seems to come to a fitting end. However, I'll share more of those thoughts tomorrow. In any case, if you're feeling a little deflated by the prophets (and I know some of you are) carry on to tomorrow. It's a beautiful reading (mostly)
Scripture to Read
Questions to Consider
What does this reveal to me about God?
What does this reveal to me about what was happening at the time that influenced this reading?
What about this reading feels applicable today? What does it challenge me to do as a result?
- My Thoughts -
At the time of this writing the news just broke about a gunmen in Colorado that killed 10 people in a grocery story and my heart just grieved. It hadn't even been 4 days since the last time I had to write a post with gun violence on my head and here we are yet again. My heart grieved for the individual whose family reported that he had paranoia dating back to high school when he was bullied for his religion. My heart grieved for the officer who died and for the other 9 people whose life was robbed of them. After grief I felt anger. I felt anger that our current system allows someone to buy a gun so easily and readily. I felt anger for the ignorant assumptions and discrimination that will inevitably come up against Muslims because of this shooter. Anger and sadness went back and forth in my head and heart for hours before writing this post, which felt somewhat analogous to the way the prophets and God felt when thinking about the people.
But there is a section in which I felt gratitude as well, and that is when the prophet Ezekiel began to talk about the number of people that were "slaughtered" by the sword and were described as "outcasts" and "filled with shame." I felt gratitude that because of Jesus death on the cross we all have a place secured in heaven where glory will shine, where shame is no more, where the outcast has a home, and where we join with saints that have gone before us. I'm grateful to know that the people who lost their lives that day awoke in a place far better than the world their bodies left behind. My heart is sad, anger, and grateful but I know that God is with us, always.
"What is grief if not love persevering?" ~ WandaVision
Our prayer today is inspired by hymn 195 in our UMH - Send Your Word.
I can't find an exact recording of the one in the hymnal, but I found this choir anthem version really pretty so I invite you to just close your eyes and invite God to send God's Word to you this day as you listen to it.