Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 96; 148, Ezekiel 1:28-3:3, Hebrews 4:14-5:6, Luke 9:28-36
After God bestowed upon Ezekiel a fantastical vision of four-faced heavenly beings, God commissioned the prophet by presenting him a scroll and instructing him to eat it. The image of consuming a scroll may be less cinematic than multi-limbed giants emerging from a storm, but it is also rich with meaning. The scroll was covered with words of lament and mourning, and Ezekiel was commanded to share those words with the rebellious nation of Israel.
When God tells Ezekiel “eat what is before you,” he is confirming Ezekiel’s obedience, in direct contrast to the rebelliousness of the people. In Ezekiel’s time, scrolls were not made of paper, but papyrus (the same basic material as sandals and baskets) or parchment (the skin of a kosher animal); neither would have been an appetizing proposition. Yet the scroll was sweet as honey in his mouth. Like Ezekiel, we may find the tasks to which God calls us less than appealing, but in the end we may find they provide us with a sweet fulfillment only discovered when following God. A popular riddle asks: “How do you eat an elephant?” Answer: one bite at a time. The stumbling block for most efforts is motivating ourselves to take the first step. If we can bring ourselves into obedience and choke down that first bite of scroll, who knows how sweet the rewards might be!
Would it have been easier for Ezekiel to hold onto the scroll and read it to people? Probably. Yet as a prophet, Ezekiel was called to literally internalize the word of God, to let it nourish and become part of his being. Do we consume God’s word and let it fuel us, or are our scrolls lying around, collecting dust? The answer is the difference between a living relationship with God and Gospel that we can’t help but share because it’s part of us, and devotion to an eternally external text that is an object of study but not sustenance.
God does not offer us merely a recipe for salvation, but the bread of life itself. Let’s devour it with gusto!
Comfort: Faith is lived, not just studied and kept to ourselves.
Challenge: At each meal, offer a prayer of thanks.
Prayer: Holy God, let others see your spirit filling me up! Amen.
Discussion: Do you feel God is preparing you for anything you are hesitant to take on?
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