Like I mentioned last week, for me Ezekiel has felt like a bit of a slog – all those detailed descriptions of destruction. Did it seem like that for you? And actually, there’s a lesson in that – I don’t know about you, but my life substantially improved once my expectations about it became more reasonable. It’s not necessarily that we should expect mediocrity from ourselves, others, and the world, and yet I must admit that my overall life experience by-and-large improves when I don’t believe that shiny awesome things are just going to pop out of thin air on a regular basis so I may then be surprised when random good things do happen. Maybe that’s my way of saying and extending grace to the world around me – the same grace God has extended to me. Hmmm! It’s definitely a delicate balance.
Blenkinsopp lets us know, “Ezekiel 40-48 is not at all typical of prophetic vision narratives…” (p. 182). In addition to its vision of a new Jerusalem, it has a lot of detailed architectural and legislative plans for the restored Israel. People have a lot of different ideas about what this all means. In regard to current societal circumstances, I don’t wonder why a prophet would be willing to weigh in in a detailed way on what a restored Israel’s government should look like after a period in which it is so desecrated.
Padgett notes, “We misunderstand the vision and rituals if we take them literally. These are not literal building plans, ritual codes, and territorial maps but an idealized and parable-like presentation of the holiness of the presence of the Lord and a revitalized Israel blessed with God’s presence.”
What does God’s presence look like to you?
This week we’re reading through the 3rd week of 40 Day Journey With Howard Thurman, days 15-21. From Day 15, during a period of “centering down” in a Quaker meeting: “After some time, I am not sure precisely when, the sense of the movement of my spirit disappeared and a great living stillness engulfed me. And then a strange thing happened. There came into my mind, as if on a screen, first a single word and then more words, until there was in my mind’s eye an entire sentence from the Sermon on the Mount.” (p. 29)
In our hyper-connected world, how often do you get to such a point of stillness in which “strange things happen”? What does that stillness do for you?
This week we’re in Chapter 3, “Tips for Completing the Activist Project Histories” of The Lifelong Activist. As point #7 says about completing your activist project history, “Honesty and objectivity are key, because only honesty will lead you to a valid Personal Vision Statement. Being honest is also harder to do than it sounds, since most of us have trouble being objective about our own life story and the situations we find ourselves in.”
How is your Activist Project History going?
Things to Do
Check out the Find Your FBCO Map to find your local faith-based community organizing affiliate and connect with the people who are working together to live out their dreams of a more just world! What’s going on in your living of the Gospel? Let us know in the comments, in our e-mail discussion group, or on social media.
- Almada, Samuel E. “Ezekiel 1-39.” Pages 273–84 in Global Bible Commentary. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2004.
- Blenkinsopp, Joseph. Ezekiel. Interpretation, a Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching. Louisville, Ky: J. Knox Press, 1990.
- Luther Seminary. “Enter the Bible,” n.d. http://www.enterthebible.org/.
- Padgett, Alan. “Old Testament: Ezekiel.” Enter the Bible, n.d. http://www.enterthebible.org/oldtestament.aspx?rid=46.
- Rettig, Hillary. “3. Tips for Completing the Activist Project Histories.” The Lifelong Activist, n.d. http://lifelongactivist.com/part-i-managing-your-mission/tips-for-completing-the-activist-project-histories/.
- Rettig, Hillary. The Lifelong Activist: How to Change the World Without Losing Your Way. New York, NY: Lantern Books, 2006.
- Schaper, Donna, ed. 40-Day Journey with Howard Thurman. 40-Day Journey. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Books, 2009. https://openlibrary.org/books/OL23575518M/40-day_journey_with_Howard_Thurman.