Ezekiel 44:4-5: Face Down

Easter thus means “Jesus is Lord.”
The phrase has depths of meaning not always seen in a tradition
in which the affirmation has become a commonplace.
Jesus is Lord. Rome is not. The domination system is not.
— Marcus Borg (The Meaning of Jesus)

I grew up in Bancroft, Ontario, Canada. It’s a beautiful town, surrounded by lakes, rivers, and forests (thus my love for nature). If you towards the north end of town on highway #62, you will drive along a stretch of land between Eagles’ Nest cliff, and the York River.

Eagles’ Nest is a stunning place. You can see for miles from the top of it. Since I left town, they built a Tim Horton’s at the base of it. During the winter, you can sip your coffee while watching climbers scale the ice that clings to the side of the cliff.

When I visit Bancroft now, I really appreciate its beauty. But while I was growing up, it was nothing too special. In fact, we would hike up the snowmobile tracks that covered the road to the top and toboggan down the hill without pausing to look out at the panorama below.

We have a cliché for this: familiarity breeds contempt.

. . .

It’s easy to develop that same familiarity with religious experiences. Whether it’s the goosebumps that come through charismatic-style praise or the awesome sense of holiness that envelops the liturgical tradition: if it’s repeated it can become commonplace.

And commonplace, of course, is precisely the opposite of holy.

True religious experience—contact with the holy and completely ‘other’ living God—can never become commonplace or be taken for granted. Look at Ezekiel. He has spent the bulk of his life in a revelatory relationship with God. He has witnessed what God wanted him to witness. He has spoken what God asked him to speak. But still, when God’s presence appeared, he fell on his face again:

I looked and lo! the glory of the LORD filled the temple of the LORD; and I fell on my face. (v. 4, NRSV)

Then God spoke again.

. . .

Do you ever wonder why you don’t always hear God’s voice, as clearly as you want to? Could it be that all of our methods of praising God have left us bereft of the one we’re trying to find? Have we lost that essential sense of holiness in our pursuit of personal salvation? Do we need to be humbled by the Maker of the Universe one more time before we can hear his voice?

. . .

Maker and Master of the Universe, remind me of my mortality again by your immortal presence and unstop my distracted ears to hear your call. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

< Ezekiel 44:1-3 | What Gate?

Ezekiel 44:6-8 | Don’t Delegate >

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One Response to Ezekiel 44:4-5: Face Down

  1. Robin November 4, 2014 at 8:52 am #

    Aside from Micah (“Who is like God?”) being one of my favourite names, Micah 6:8 is one of my favourite Bible verses:

    “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you?
    To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

    Notice that, in this directive, the Lord didn’t include glazing over “Bible stories” like fairy tales or, at the other extreme, analyzing or critiquing the Scriptures to death, both of which lead to familiarity breeding contempt.

    So many times, the attitudes of Christians in “developed countries” toward God and his Word remind me of the tiny Lilliputians strapping down Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver while he was unconscious on the beach. We think we’re so smart, that we have God figured out and under control, and we can direct our focus toward “other” interests or use our Biblical knowledge and the “security” of our salvation to pad our human pride, when, at any time, he could crush us or just get up and walk away.

    Our God is real, not a construct of my mind or yours. His Word is alive and independent of our thought and it existed long before any of us did: it always existed and always will. Regardless of how we interpret it in an attempt to make it fit our own limited human understanding or twist it to excuse our sin or lack of commitment, the Truth stands – all false interpretations burn like chaff. When we give up the apparent need to have some mastery over or human understanding of what surrounds and fills us, only then will we really see, hear and know. True wisdom and humility can only be a gift from God, totally independent of us. We don’t have the capacity in ourselves for either, hence the need for the Saviour.

    “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions” (Matthew 25:45-47).

    We are called to be servants of Christ, humbly doing what we have been commanded: acting justly, loving mercy and walking humbly with our God. Then we will see the glory of our God and will fall on our faces in worship.

    “Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being”” (Revelation 4:9-11).

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