Fr. James' Lectionary

The Lectionary is both a reading program for completing all of Holy Scripture on a one year schedule, and a daily comment on a portion of the day's reading wedded to a poem to give an added perspective on the theme.

Location: Amherst, Virginia, United States

Friday, June 02, 2006

What Price Greatness: Bible Comment on Ezekiel 3 with poem by Thomas S. Jones, Jr., Ezekiel

Daily Readings
Psalm 73 Joshua 22 Ezekiel 3:4-27 James 2

Daily Text: Ezekiel 3:4-27

What Price Greatness?
God warns Ezekiel of the difficulty of the task given him. The house of Israel is a hard-headed, stubborn-hearted people and to prepare Ezekiel for his work, God has made him outwardly just as hard-headed, tough like flint. But inwardly, Ezekiel is passionate, even angry, in Ezekiel 3:14, at what God is calling him to do. God is also requiring of the prophet that he be responsible for the actions of the people unless he repeats God’s warnings to them without any personal agenda. He is not allowed, as was Moses, to plead for the people. He is not allowed any softness toward them, no sympathy, no fellow feeling. To suggest that this was Ezekiel’s own nature is to miss the point of God’s hardening him. People will do what people will do, however, the prophet must become obedient without dissent, he must be subject to divine humiliation without recourse to personal preferences. There are times when one has the sense of an automaton. Ben Adam, son of man, go out into the valley. So he goes out into the valley and the glory of LORD is there. He falls on his face, what else can he do? The Spirit sets him on his feet. What else can he do? Then he is ordered bound within his house and struck dumb until God wants him to speak. And when he able to speak, he is to speak only what God tells him to. There is no room for alteration. A walk with God of such intensity carries with it impossible demands. But through this vessel of dust, this son of Adam, ben Adam, this mortal, comes some of the most exalted insights into the working of God with his people ever to be revealed to humankind. What price greatness? And shall our price be less?

Thomas S. Jones, Jr.

He thunders from the cherubs’ glowing wheels,
And in proud cities shaken by the tread
Of Asshur’s horsemen cloaked in blue and red,
The leopard crouches and the gray wolf steals;
Before that voice the prince of Tyrus reels,--
His purple tissues deck the dark sea-bed
Where ships of Ophir rust, with sails outspread
And green gold dripping through the cloven keels.

He speaks, and captives of the willowed rim
Of Chebar hear the holy river run
Where idols stained their broken altar-stone,
And know that He who rides the cherubim
Above the fallen summits of the sun
Is Lord of Israel and God alone.

Collect for the Day
Most High, you know our faithlessness, and our blindness to the rewards of goodness. Guide us with your counsel and be the strength of our hearts, that we may not fall but rejoice in the life of your eternal city; through Jesus Christ our Mediator.
[476:800:Psalm 73 A psalm prayer]


Blogger Norm said...

The word of the Lord came to me (v3:16), a phrase characteristic of Ezekiel (occurring almost 50 times). This formula emphasizes the “private” character of these revelations.

9:14 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home