Archive for December 5th, 2018

Ezekiel 21:12-22Song of the Sword

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Written on January 5 and posted today as a Favorite . . .

Much of this prophecy is full of dramatic images, and this one of the Lord wiping one hand against the other in dismissal is striking.  It tells us that we ought not doubt God’s power to save.  In the New Testament, Jesus brings to us God’s amazing power to heal.  What we see in the old as castigating and just, we see in the new as compassionate and merciful.

Rembrandt: Christ in the Storm on the Lake of Galilee

This puts me in mind of today’s Gospel, Mark 6:45-52, in which Jesus comes to calm the storm which tosses the apostles in their fishing boat.  He meant to pass by them.  As a child I always imagined how Jesus moves quietly in our lives calming storms that are too much for us to take.  They were . . . terrified.  But at once he spoke with them, “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!”  Even as the storm abates, it is all too much for us, and we remain frightened.  And Jesus cannot move past us without reassuring us.  He speaks with us rather than to us.  We are his dearly loved sisters and brothers.

Earlier in Ezekiel (Chapter 9) we have read and reflected on how those are saved from the slaughter who are marked with “the sign of thau,” the cross that designates them as one of the faithful.  We receive this cross on our forehead at baptism and are grateful for it when the sword begins its indiscriminate work.  This mark is not a free pass to do as we like, certainly; rather, it is a reminder to us of how we are to act.  Neither is this to say that the unbaptized are not equally valued in God’s eye and equally redeemed by Jesus.  What Ezekiel reminds us of today is this:  God’s word is certain, God’s promise is sure; we are to call out for help as do the apostles in the storm, and this God we love and who loves us will let us know God’s presence.

When the harvesting sword begins to sing, we will remember to turn to God who is our source and our goal, our north star and our protection.  When God wipes one hand against another in a gesture of dismissal, let us not be afraid, for . . . at once he spoke with them, “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!” 

A re-post from November 2, 2011.

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