It took a year to read the Bible, then almost 9 months to read the Apocrypha. Now, I'm going to try to offer reflections on the Narrative Lectionary. But, I won't be posting daily--at least, for a while.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Warnings, a Reflection on Ezekiel 33:7-11

Matthew, writing to churches in troubled times, reminds us that Jesus said to the disciples, "If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault," (Matthew 18:15-17). As you read these instructions, think about the role God has intended for disciples throughout time: sometimes, to learn a way to avoid destroying our lives; and sometimes, in order to prevent another disaster, to seek understanding why a loss has occurred.

Ezekiel is called by God to speak to Jerusalem as it faced its fall to Babylon, to speak to a people who had lived in a kingdom in a land promised to them by God, and who had lost it.

How are any of us, living at any point in history, supposed to learn survival lessons? Ezekiel reminds us that God uses prophets, sentinels, to warn us of dangers. Jesus, in Matthew's gospel, is echoing this requirement, "You who are in the church owe it to each other to give warnings as well as encouragements."

"Their well being is your responsibility," Jesus tells the church. God had reminded Ezekiel, "Tell those people that I don't want their destruction. Tell them to turn back, to repent."

Bad things to happen to good people. But, let us remember that sometimes, bad things happen to good people who did bad things. And, let us remember, that if we are going to remain bound together in order to serve God more effectively, then we have to be responsible to one another.

God sent Ezekiel as a sentinel to warn people of danger. God sends each of us to speak--and to listen.

Look back in earlier chapters of Ezekiel to see the kinds of sins he was talking about. For example, "You wore expensive clothes and ate expensive meals but did not aid the poor and needed," (16:1-49). What is lawful and right, according to Ezekiel, includes caring for the poor and hungry (18:5-13).

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