Morning Prayer: June 6th

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Psalm: 89:1-18
Old Testament: Ezekiel 4:1-17
New Testament: Hebrews 6:1-12

Author’s note: Originally, I had totally misheard the Old Testament reading at the Cathedral and thought Ezekiel ate/cooked with the human dung and built my reflection around that idea. The post stayed that way for the majority of the day. I have since changed it…..but to those whom I inadvertenly led astray…mea culpa! mea culpa! Will definitely make a more concerted editing effort in future posts. 🙂

‘See, I will let you have cow’s dung instead of human dung, on which you may prepare your bread.’ (Ezekiel 4:15)

But if [your faith] produces thorns and thistles, it is worthless and on the verge of being cursed; its end is to be burned over. (Hebrews 6:8)

Eeeew! We have some pretty dark images going on in today’s readings, non? :S Despite my own discomfort though, I think there is still something to be gleaned here.

I am particularly struck by Ezekiel’s command from God to literally eat shit. :P. It is shocking enough to our own sensibilities, but for a prophet, the thought of doing such a thing would be unbearable.

According to the Torah, if a Jewish person came into contact with biological waste (corpses, menstrual blood, feces, urine &c.) there was an automatic exclusion from the whole congregation. Normally, there would be a priestly ritual (lasting anywhere from 7-14 days) that would remove the contamination and allow the person to re-enter the people of God.

Of course, with Ezekiel writing during the Babylonian Exile…the Temple is gone and the Levitical priests have been banned from practicing their faith. To eat animal dung would be to enter a state of defilement that was impossible to recover from ritually.

For all his protesting, Ezekiel is told he must eat the feces in order to convey God’s message to the people. Like so many prophets who have come before him, this faithful Jew is called to say and do things that seem impossible.

There is also an interesting twist to the story.

In his mercy, YHWH has allowed Ezekiel to eat cow’s dung–rather than human dung…..for to eat a waste product of God’s most precious creation is too great an embarassment. Even in the midst of humiiation, there is mercy. 🙂

On a metaphorical level, there is also something comforting to know that even when we must eat shit…..God is with us…loving us…..upholding us…..even to the end of the age. +

Morning Prayer: 2nd Sunday in Lent

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Psalms: 24, 29
Old Testament: Jeremiah 1:1-10
New Testament: 1 Corinthians 3:11-23

With it being so late in the afternoon…..I seriously considered skipping an MP post and just combining it with the evening portion. However, there is a lot going on in today’s Scripture passages, and I do want to take some time to concentrate on the section of Jeremiah we read for the Office today:

Now the word of the Lord came to me saying,
‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.’
Then I said, ‘Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.’ 7But the Lord said to me,
‘Do not say, “I am only a boy”;
for you shall go to all to whom I send you,
and you shall speak whatever I command you.
8 Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you,
says the Lord.’
Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth; and the Lord said to me,
‘Now I have put my words in your mouth.
See, today I appoint you over nations and over kingdoms,
to pluck up and to pull down,
to destroy and to overthrow,
to build and to plant.’ (Jeremiah 1:4-10)

Jeremiah’s call to be a prophet is so pertinent to our society today. Sadly, it has been co-opted by many pro-life groups as the rallying cry against abortion, rather than standing on its own as a recognition that God has a plan for each and every one of us.

As I look at the paragraph above, I am also chuckling at my own words lol :). I don’t consider myself pro-life, nor am I believer in Fate, or predestined plans lol :). Yet I do believe that life is sacred and that God directs our lives in a certain direction while at the same time, giving us the freedom to veer off in another directions.

Like all of the Biblical heralds of God’s message, Jeremiah proclaims that he is unfit to speak on behalf of the Father; a fair argument, non? After all, can a mortal really speak for the Maker of heaven and earth?

Yet God does not accept Jeremiah’s protest….instead he says that he should not call himself a boy….and that YHWH will provide the very words and thoughts that are needed to speak to the congregation of Israel. Simply put, God’s call cannot be put off with excuses 🙂

Of course, taking up the prophetic mantle is definitely a dangerous thing in our world. For one, we can’t always be sure that the call is authentic….there are no cherubs flying above our heads, no burning coals touching our lips…and yet we are called to speak the truth about the kingdom:

do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time (Matt 10:19b)

We are baptized into Christ’s threefold ministry of priest, prophet, and king. We are not to speak our own words or our own thoughts…but rather to reflect on what God might be saying to us in the silence of our hearts. Through prayer, reflection, and conversation with other members of the faith….we might be able to discern the new and exciting ways in which the Father is directing the church to go out and make disciples of all nations.

What I [Jesus] say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops (Matt 10:27)

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