HOLY TRINITY LUTHERAN CHURCH
A Daily Dose of Good News
Thursday, March 26, 2020
Pastor Steve’s devotion is offered live at https://youtu.be/tbv50xSg7r8
In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the exiles by the river Chebar, the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. On the fifth day of the month (it was the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin), the word of the Lord came to the priest Ezekiel, son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the Lord was on him there.
But you, mortal, hear what I say to you; do not be rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you. I looked, and a hand was stretched out to me, and a written scroll was in it. He spread it before me; it had writing on the front and on the back, and written on it were words of lamentation and mourning and woe.
He said to me, O mortal, eat what is offered to you; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel. So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat. He said to me, Mortal, eat this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it. Then I ate it; and in my mouth it was as sweet as honey. (Ezekiel 1:1-3; 2:8-3:3)
Even and Especially in the Midst of Hard Times
While the promise of Good News
Even and especially in the midst of hard times
Was enfleshed in the person of Jesus of Nazareth
Whose life, suffering, death and resurrection revealed it to be true,
It has been God’s promise from the very beginning.
Our lesson for today is a vision
Whereby Ezekiel receives his call to serve as a prophet of the Lord.
Living and serving God in the great tribulation
Under the contagion of repeat persecution
At the hands of foreign bodies from Babylonia,
God calls Ezekiel into service with the use of a scroll with two functions.
First is the scroll takes on all the lamentations and mourning and woe
That is being experienced by God’s people
So that the prophet might bear those burdens on God’s behalf with God’s people.
Next, the scroll is consumed by Ezekiel to speak with God’s people
Which even with his belly full of heartache
Turns out to be words that taste sweet as honey.
God, indeed, is with them.
Will always be with them
And see them through to a new day.
Jesus fills both functions of that scroll (pun intended) with his own life.
Having indicated that he comes to fulfill both the law and the prophets,
He embodies the law by loving God and neighbor at every turn
And embodies the prophets by taking into himself
Every bit of lamentation, mourning and woe that the world can give him
All the betrayal and pride and sin
He chokes it all down
And then offers the sweetest words that could ever be spoken:
Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.
Don’t be afraid.
Peace be with you.
Lo, I am with you to the end of the age.
If you have a little time today
Maybe you could write a couple scrolls of your own:
One that names all the troubles you experience in life right now, and
One that lists all the ways you experience God’s ever-abiding and life-giving promise
Even and especially in the midst of hard times like these.
Be safe. Be well.