Year of Scripture – Days 243 – 245

Readings for: 
Saturday, August 31: Ezekiel 5 – 8
Sunday, September 1: Ezekiel 9 -12
Monday, September 2: Ezekiel 13 – 15

Greetings and welcome back after celebrating Labor Day weekend. I pray that you made the best of it, with whatever you did. Our family took in a triple feature at our local drive in movie theater. It was great for just the four of us to enjoy, but I will be honest, I don’t recover from a 3 a.m. bedtime very easily. Maybe that has something to do with celebrating my 44th birthday over the weekend as well. Funny thing was I woke up that morning, asked Alexa what time it was, and she said: “It is 4:44 a.m.” “Great,” I though, and now I’m 44. Not sure what type of omen that brings.

Shifting into Ezekiel and his omens (I mean prophecies) these are challenging readings. Not in the hard to read, but hard to digest. Little did I know or remember, Ezekiel’s visions continue. From the vision of heaven described in the first chapter, Ezekiel’s vision returns in chapters 8-11, where similar themes occur of the wheel within the wheel. However, this vision isn’t quite as kind. After being pulled by the hair into to heaven (8:3) Ezekiel is transported to the gates of court of Jerusalem where he witness the “vile abominations” that have been taking place in Jerusalem. With such great news witnessed by Ezekiel, one can connect the dots and realize that emanate destruction is soon at hand for Jerusalem, and we need to turn no farther than looking back at the story of the kings, or the earlier prophets we have read.

One particular passage struck me as I read:

“Go through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of those who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it.”
(Ezekiel 9:4)

As I read these words, I remembered two things. 1) My own baptism. 2) Ash Wednesday. In baptism these words are echoed as a small cross is drawn upon our forehead: “Child of God, you have been sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked with the Cross of Christ forever.” Marked and Sealed! A powerful witness of whose we are and to whom we belong. Sadly that same cross becomes visable only once a year as ash is dusted upon our head, “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Here our sinful selves are revealed, yet with joy and thanksgiving the waters of baptism and the love of God is deep and wide!

This gift of grace and love is the same gift that is poured out on the faithful few the Ezekiel is prophesying to. These words couldn’t say it better:

Thus says the Lord God: I will gather you from the peoples, and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.  When they come there, they will remove from it all its detestable things and all its abominations.  I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them; I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh,  so that they may follow my statutes and keep my ordinances and obey them. Then they shall be my people, and I will be their God.
(Ezekiel 11:17-20)

Pastor Bailey

Readings for the next few days: 
Tuesday, September 3: Ezekiel 16 – 17
Wednesday, September 4: Ezekiel 18 – 20
Thursday, September 5: Ezekiel 21 – 22
Friday, September 6: Ezekiel 23 – 24

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