act on my behalf
for the sake of your name;
deliver me because your faithful love is so good
(Psalm 109:21, Common English Bible)
As in chapter 16, Ezekiel uses feminine metaphors to depict their sins and their deserved punishment.
Now that we have been forgiven, what happens next? The author answers, "Live like it."
Approach God.As I read this passage, I am glad once again that the United Methodist Church decided to add "witness" to its vows of membership. Here's a quote from Tayor Burton-Edwards explaining the change:
Hold on to hope.
Encourage others to do good deeds.
Paragraph 217.6 had become the United Methodist membership mantra: “prayers, presence, gifts and service.” In some of our congregations, these words became the only “membership vows” many of our people knew, despite the fact that our Discipline names all the vows of the baptismal covenant as requirements for professing membership (see the entirety of paragraph 217). Our Board noted that the vows of “prayers, presence, gifts and service” were primarily “inwardly” focused and institutional in character. They offered little insight or inspiration for disciples of Jesus Christ to engage in God’s mission of transforming the world. Though in an earlier vow those seeking professing membership promise to be “Christ’s representatives in the world” (UMH 34, paragraph 6), there was no reflection of that baptismal promise in the vows of membership in a local congregation. Adding “and witness” to the list (“prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness”) may help our members, new and old, to recognize their responsibilities not only to “show up,” but to “show forth” God’s saving love in all that we do.You may have noticed that I have omitted discussion of verses 26-39. I don't have words for them today--nor anything particularly useful to say about the reading from Psalms.
A plea to the Lord to punish those who have done harm.
Take the garment of the person who secures a loan for a stranger;
take his pledge for a foreigner (Common English Bible).
Prayer for Today: O Lord, stir up within us a willingness to reach out to others in faith and love. Show us how to encourage others. Amen.