Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘sentinel’


Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Tough-love1-300x256Ezekiel 33

Fidelity of the Sentinel

In ancient societies the role of the watchman was seminal; city-states and even towns relied on watch towers and wakeful sentinels to warn their community of impending danger. Today we have replaced this watchfulness with electronic stealth weapons that often divide us about their necessity or efficacy. With today’s Noontime, we might learn something about our human need to be alert so as to survive. We might also learn something about our own fidelity to God.

Although Israel has already been sent into exile, Ezekiel warns his people of continuing disaster and, as we have seen with Jeremiah, the community’s response to his warning is lukewarm. This was a people skilled in the art of denial and enabling. It seems that God’s prophets, or sentinels, nearly always receive a tepid response; but this does not deter them from speaking. Today our modern prophets, like those of old, continue to call out to us about the importance of hearing the warning from the sentinels we ourselves have posted. They also call on us to be faithful to God in our response to the warning call.

My parents often reminded us that what hurts the individual also hurts the group. They also admitted that sometimes as parents it is difficult to discern when love is nurturing and when it is enabling. Tough love is a term that was coined in the late 1960s by Bill Milliken to describe how families and institutions must intervene in addicted behaviors and cycles. Too often we are swayed by our fear of rejection by an individual or group to gently yet firmly interact with others in loving sternness.  And this is what God is saying to Ezekiel and Jeremiah. I have appointed you watchman of the house of Israel; when you hear me say anything, you shall warn them for me.

When we hear the sentinel warning, we know that it is the hour to pause and reflect as individuals and as communities about the message of that call. We are obliged to listen to other voices, to pray with other hearts, and to share with other minds the meaning of the warning. And we must remain faithful to God’s call as do the prophets. Although the tide of many be against us, we must persist in developing our willingness to step out of all that is comfortable to remain faithful in our relationship with the creator God.  For after all, the end of this story is good news. The end of this story is restoration and resurrection. The end of this story is about our preparedness to receive the blessing that is already ours.


Image from: http://drmommyonline.com/what-is-tough-love-and-when-to-use-it

Adapted from a reflection written on December 27, 2006.

Read Full Post »


Psalm 121:3: The Dangerous Path

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Psalm 121:3: God will not let your foot slip and he who watches over you will not fall asleep.

Málaga, Spain: The World’s Most Dangerous Footpath

We panic too quickly.  We lack trust. We believe in our own futile powers more than God’s.  We forget that God has and is all.

God says: I do not mind that you are afraid to trust me.  I do not worry that you believe in yourself more than you believe in me.  I will always be waiting for you.  I will always be guarding you.  I will always be guiding and calling you.  There is nothing you can do or say that will cause me to turn away. I am with you always.  If you are exhausted, put down your head and sleep awhile.  If you are hungry, dine with me this evening.  If you are lonely, spend some time with me.  If you are sad or fearful, come to me. 

Let us be mindful that God does not break the promises he makes . . . and let us aim to keep our own promises.

Let us remember that God abides by the covenants into which he enters . . . and let us endeavor to remain faithful to our own vows.

Let us consider that God is the eternal shepherd and sentinel . . . and let us aspire to the same constancy and abiding love in our own relationships.

As we travel along today’s portion of our journey, let us consider that even the most treacherous path becomes an easy passage . . .  when we walk with God.


A re-post from July 24, 2012.

To learn more about the Caminito del Rey, or the world’s most dangerous footpath, click on the image above or go to: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/6055150/The-worlds-most-dangerous-footpath.html 

To reflect on becoming a good shepherd, click on the image of the forest path or go to: http://skyranchskymoms.blogspot.com/2011/12/teach-intentionallygod-is-good-shepherd.html 

Enter the word fidelity into the search box on this blog and spend some time reflecting today.

Read Full Post »


Saturday, February 14, 2015stumblingbnr

Ezekiel 3:17-27

The Prophet as Watchman: Loving our Stumbling Blocks

As we study our stumbling blocks we hear the call to be prophets in the Messianic Age. We are asked to call others to kingdom work just as we have been called.

Once we spend time with our stumbling blocks we begin to understand the important role they play in our lives, the vital function they perform. We are asked to demonstrate our comprehension by willingly taking on our responsibility as Sentinel People. We are asked to call out to others the message of the Word Among Us.

Rather than walk around or away from our stumbling blocks we freely and even cheerfully go in search of a ladder that will allow us to climb atop our obstacle. We see the world and ourselves from a different angle . . . perhaps an angle that God the Creator might use. We are asked to bring this gift of insight to our Kingdom building.

Once we begin to act in and through Christ we receive abundant grace, courage, fortitude, and mercy. Love grows out of our suffering. Sudden and inexplicable joy takes hold and in a moment of irreversible transformation we move into the life God has planned for us since our inception.

And once we have run the arc from grief to joy, we give thanks for the great suffering we have endured.

As Fr. Richard Rohr, O.F.M. points out in his February 10, 2015 Meditation, it is not so much that we are so chosen or so suddenly more greatly loved by God in our moment of fear and turmoil; rather, it is that we have listened, waited, and pruned ourselves for the reception of this enormous and endless love. As we consider the grace and peace and blessing of the Stumbling Block, let us give thanks to the one who abides, and heals and loves.

Richard Rohr: Adapted fromThe Great Themes of Scripture: Old Testament, pp. 1-5 (published by Franciscan Media); and Scripture as Liberation (MP3 download

Read Full Post »


Friday, February 13, 2015

A Watch Tower in Cadiz, Spain

A Watch Tower in Cadiz, Spain

Ezekiel 3:17-27

The Prophet as Watchman: Gratitude for our Stumbling Blocks

I have appointed you as sentinel; whenever you hear a word from my mouth, warn my people from me.

God says: Do not be surprised that I have appointed you as sentinel to my people for you have been faithful in great and in little things. When I speak, send on my word, live my word.

When I say to the wicked, “You will surely die,” and you do not warn them or speak out to warn them, the wicked shall die in their iniquity, but their blood I will require at your hand.

God says: Do not be afraid to deliver news that others perceive as negative or ugly. Send on my word with mercy and justice. Be compassionate always, but deliver my message nonetheless for it is as important for you to speak as it is for others to hear.

If you have warned the wicked and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their wicked way, they shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered yourself.

God says: Do not worry if my word returns to you empty. I do not expect you to transform hard hearts and unbend stiff necks; but I expect that you will send my word on.

When I speak to you, I will open your mouth and you will say to them, “Thus says the Lord God”. The one who hears, hear; and the one who refuses, let that one refuse; for they are a rebellious house.

God says: Speak in my name and in that alone is your reward. When you do this although it is outside of your comfort zone, you set the same example as does my son Jesus. When you speak the words that lie in the quiet of other hearts, you demonstrate your fidelity. When you act as Jesus acts you show me the heart I have planted in you. Act in me as I act in you . . . and this will be enough. Give thanks that I am with you. Give thanks that you are not alone. Give thanks that my love dwells within you . . . and that I find it great enough to share. This has been the gift of your stumbling block. It is the gift of the watch tower. It is the gift of my eternal life in you.

Read Full Post »


Thursday, February 12, 2015stumbling blocks

Ezekiel 3:17-27

The Prophet as Watchman: Receiving Grace through our Stumbling Blocks

We receive the gift of understanding once we agree to study the stumbling blocks in our path. This understanding will transform our lives and the lives of others as we rejoice in the stoning we have received.  Others will see that we rise again, once the stoners retreat.  Others will see that we have survived the stoning and that we have lived to pick up those stones hurled as killing missiles.  They will see that we study those stones and that we have been blessed with the gift of reading the transforming message of each stone . . . because we respond to the call of the prophet, because we recognize that we are Sentinel People, and because we become prophets ourselves.

Ezekiel foresaw this Kingdom of prophets.  He foresaw that there would be a time when God would walk among us, would be one of us, would show us the way to turn and return to the God we had abandoned.  Ezekiel fore heard the trumpet blast of our response to God.

And so we pray . . .

Let us rejoice and be glad each time we stumble over something which strikes at our hearts.

Let us announce this gladness as the watchman Ezekiel announces the Coming of Christ.

Let us study the stumbling blocks in our path as we journey in the new Kingdom.

Let us examine the stones which the stoners throw, and read their unique messages for us.

Let us open our hearts and minds and souls to the God who created us.

Let us hope for the transformation of all of God’s people.

Let us trust that we are upheld as we work our way along the obstacle-strewn path toward home.

Let us be sentinel people, People of the Watch, calling out that the Kingdom is now.

Let us be prophets who announce that the Messiah is already among us.

Let us love ourselves and one another . . . for the Christ is in our midst . . . for the Kingdom is now.

 Let us be a Sentinel People, announcing the Kingdom of God.

Amen.

Tomorrow, giving thanks for our stumbling blocks.

Adapted from a reflection written on January 19, 2008.

 

Read Full Post »


Wednesday, February 11, 2015walls

Ezekiel 3:17-27

The Prophet as Watchman: Climbing the Stumbling Block

When we opt to walk away from God’s call what is it that we choose?  Is it merely the work before us that we ignore or is it also our own development?  When we are silent and succumb to “group think” rather than speaking up what is it we gain?  Acceptance into a group? What is it that we lose? The opportunity to grow in Christ. And when we choose to “go along with the crowd” rather than join Christ, we opt for fleeting, numbing pleasure and forfeit eternal, ecstatic joy. This is Ezekiel’s message.

We build walls to protect ourselves . . . but these walls can keep out that which helps us to grow. They hide us from Christ himself.

We shut gates and pull up bridges . . . but these defenses can keep us from that which makes us holy. They distort our vision and deceive the soul.

We go within to avoid discomfort . . . but these awkward moments can keep us close to God.  They urge us to answer God’s call.

We are all prophets, calling to self and to one another.  As we journey we see and recognize signposts that direct us toward the true Kingdom, where stumbling blocks are seen as graces, where problems are seen as blessings, where Christ’s followers are willing to be stoned, knowing that they will not die.  If we are to live now in the true Kingdom, we must welcome our stumbling blocks and rely on God who will send us the gift of understanding these troubles.  We must be willing to be stoned by words if not by actually deeds. Just as the early apostles sacrificed self for unity through Christ, we also have the opportunity to join in the miracle of resurrection and new life.

Tomorrow, receiving grace through the stumbling block.

Adapted from a reflection written on January 19, 2008.

Read Full Post »


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A Vineyard Watch Tower

A Vineyard Watch Tower

Ezekiel 3:17-27

The Prophet as Watchman: Understanding the Stumbling Block

According to notes in the NAB, this portion of Ezekiel 3 may have been moved by an editor from its original location in Chapter 33 to this earlier place.  The later chapter begins the portion of Ezekiel’s prophecy of the Salvation for Israel, and this is where we understand that the prophet is important as the Sentinel to the Word Among Us.  We also are called to be prophets or sentinels, People of the Watch. And we are called to pronounce a vision or mission: We are to confront the stumbling blocks in our lives rather than walk around or away from them.

God allows stumbling blocks to tumble into our path to obstruct our headlong pace.  We may think that our virtuous acts bring into balance our refusal to study these stumbling blocks and learn from them but they do not.  Only our willingness to study our stumbling blocks brings life.

This week in our scripture class we are studying chapters 10 and 11 of Acts and as part of our assignment we were asked to write a reflection about what we had learned, about how and when and why we respond or do not respond to God’s call when he places a stumbling block before us, when he asks us to do something that is particularly painful or difficult.  Ezekiel speaks to the absolute necessity of answering this call no matter the strife or angst and we may want to ponder the choice that lies before us. The consequence of not responding is non-existence.  The consequence of understanding and conforming to God’s will is the gift of ever-lasting life in union with Christ.

As Sentinel People, let us urge one another to study our obstacles, and let us urge one another to see them as stepping stones in our journey of unity in Christ.

Tomorrow, climbing the stumbling block.

Adapted from a reflection written on January 19, 2008.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: