Hi to anyone who’s been following this blog. I’ve been traipsing my way through Ezekiel (as in the Book of -) and blogging sort of a mental travel guide as I go. I’ve read the book several times, but it was always with predisposed imagery that had been supplied to me externally. Nothing like being prejudiced about a work of art, or a piece of music, a subculture, a demographic group, or in this case, a scripture without having seen/experiencing it first hand.
After reading through this book several times though, something seemed to click in my head. I realized there were bigger themes and messages at work here. More importantly, I became aware that the message was just as contemporary today as it was in the days of Ezekiel. And I mean contemporary in the sense that it matters today – the message matters, it still matters, it has always mattered.
I was blown away one day, when I read somewhere that Ezekiel was considered a “Closed” book in Christian circles. Really? How can that be? There is a message there. Several in fact.
I was just sitting out on my back porch thinking about the next chapter and pondering why I seem to be drawn to this writing. It turns out that in some ways, it’s no different from any other book: I find things in Ezekiel that I relate to or identify with. Sometimes it’s Ezekiel himself as anal-retentive and detail obsessed as he is, he had his whole world turned upside down. And he turned to his faith to try to make sense of it all and in the process had a whole new concept opened up. On some levels, I can very much relate – I’ve had my world turned upside down several times. I have had to jump between cultures again and again and translate back and forth between them. I used to think that it simply pleased the Lord to strip away everything from me so that I could start again from scratch…over and over.
Sometimes I relate to the city of Jerusalem described in the context of the book. I look at the judgments brought against that city, the portents and the woes; they are all agents of change. I find that I cling to the disastrous changes that befall me sometimes – revel in the confusion for there is often opportunity in chaos, or what appears to be chaos. So part of me has come to accept these things that are hard. I didn’t say I sail through them, or sit peacefully with my chai latte and placidly repeating “God has a plan”. No, sometimes I’m screaming at the sky, dragging my feet, demanding answers, and being downright unruly. But in the end I do admit that sometimes I don’t get the work that God is doing, but that His way is Just. And I plow on. Must be the aries in me.
And so I come back to Ezekiel who against everything he knows so well, brings a message that is utterly confusing to his peers. He sees the pride and joy of his nation dragged down from its heights. He looks at his fellow refugees and is not able to offer much comfort and certainly no short term easy answers. No platitudes to be found at the corner coffee shop of ancient Babylon.
I find no easy answers as I explore my faith either. I am mystified by those who race through their favorite social media with quick answers and formulas guaranteed to solve everything. Faith isn’t magic. Faith isn’t a formula. Faith is tough. Faith is hard hard work. Faith gets you dirty. Faith takes you to places that are uncomfortable. I relate to that. That makes sense to me.
so all we really get from Ezekiel so far are just these four words: God. Is. With. Us.
So much mystery. So much work. So much unknown. Ughh.