I'm working on a Sunday school lesson for this Sunday, based on Ezekiel 11:14-21. Is it wrong to say that I just don't like Ezekiel? That if I had my own choice about the matter, I would be teaching something else?
The truth is I do have a choice -- I could choose to teach from something else, but I decided to stick to the curriculum -- perhaps with the same unwillingness but commitment that pastors stick to the lectionary. I'm bound to learn something, right?
As I type this, I'm sitting at my desk, right in the middle of lesson prep work. Here's something I never noticed before (and before you comment, yes, I know it's not the meaning of the text -- I'm just stating a parallel that came to my mind).
When Ezekiel the prophet was exiled to Babylon, there was much corruption and sin in Israel. It was assumed that God was alive in the Temple, and when the people let Israel, they left God behind. How horrible to think that you were leaving the presence of God.
But verse 16 says:
Thus says the Lord God: Though I removed them far away among the nations, and though I scattered them among the countries, yet I have been a sanctuary to them for a little while in the countries where they have gone.The author of the teacher's manual says that the people, separated from the ways that they knew to be in touch with God -- through the temple and the sacrifices -- would now reach God through God's people. People like Ezekiel.
Ezekiel speaks of transformation. He speaks of a reliance upon God instead of on oneself.
Does this not remind you of the New Testament? God, realizing the sinful nature of his children, goes with them. He sent his son to live among us, not only in the same place, but as one of us (a new development from Ezekiel). We are able to reach God through each other. And we have a new covenant -- a transformative power that is dependent entirely upon grace. It is a gift, not earned by us, but given to us.
My musings as I prepare to teach.