God’s Multimedia Message

Day 316 

Ezekiel 24:1-26:21; Hebrews 11:1-16; Psalm 110:1-7; Proverbs 27:14

God’s Multimedia Message

Did you read the Ezekiel portion today? If not, I challenge you to go back and read it. It’s not an easy read even for us today, but for the Israelites it was a hard-hitting message. First, Ezekiel, at God’s instruction, boils the stew and burns the pot. Then, his wife dies, and he does not weep for her. Then he delivered quick public service announcements against four of their closest neighbors. And for the richest neighbor, Tyre, he promises a hurricane of devastation that erases the city off the map. Sights, sounds, words, smells, live drama. God used every sense and media to communicate His judgment against the sin of the people. Do you think that God wanted to get their attention? God does speak through the still small voice; He also speaks through the loud and clear message of His Word—read, studied, taught, and preached. This Bible Challenge is helping us to listen afresh to what God has revealed in the Scriptures. I doubt that the preacher on Sunday will be cooking up a chowder, but he or she is called to use their full range of skills to make known the Word of God. Likewise if you are a parent teaching your child or a small group leader in your church, speak the Word, illustrate it, enact it, and do not let it be dull. Wrestle with it. Ask God to help you hear it, see it, feel it, understand it, and trust it.

The Rev. Loren Fox
Church of Our Savior
Palm Bay, FL

Are You Spiritual?

Day 315 

Ezekiel 23:1-49; Hebrews 10:18-39; Psalm 109:1-31; Proverbs 27:13

Are You Spiritual?

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” – Hebrews 10:24-25

These two verses in Hebrews 10 speak to what it means for us to be the Church—the Body of Christ. It is disheartening to see so much complacency in the church today. Many have become so busy or preoccupied with many things that church has been squeezed out and is no longer a priority; some have lost their first love. We cannot walk the Christian faith alone. The author of Hebrews knew this would become even more necessary as we see the Day drawing near. “The Day” is that final day when we see our Lord return. “He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end,” as we proclaim in the Nicene Creed.

Often today, we hear many who say they are “spiritual” as an excuse for not attending church. It is necessary to spend quality time alone with the Lord in prayer and Scripture study, as Jesus so often withdrew to solitary places to be alone with His heavenly Father. However, Jesus also spent time meeting with His disciples, loving and encouraging them.  He reminded the disciples to pray that they would not fall into temptation. This is a model for us to follow. We must have a balance of time alone with the Lord and time together as Christ’s corporate body—the Church. Today, in the news and the world around us, we experience much anger, hurt, and criticism and can even get caught up in the gossip and divisions around us.

Rather than thinking about how others have offended us or hurt us, or being caught up in the negativity around us, our reading challenges us to consider thinking about how we might build up and encourage one another rather than tearing down. Take time to pray and consider how you might encourage and stir up others to love and good works. If you do not have a place to worship or meet regularly with other Christians, ask the Lord to lead you to a church where you can experience love and encouragement in fellowship with other believers as you prepare for that glorious day of Christ’s return.

The Rev. Robin Morical
Church of the Incarnation
Oviedo, FL

Under Construction

Day 314 

Ezekiel 21:1-22:31; Hebrews 10:1-17; Psalm 108:1-13; Proverbs 27:12

Under Construction

Proverbs 27:12 – “The clever see danger and hide; but the simple go on, and suffer for it.”

This proverb is very appropriate for the long reading from Ezekiel that scared me when I read it! The sword of God is coming, Ezekiel is telling the people, and the clever in that day would certainly have desired to run and hide! But destruction with God’s sword, destruction at God’s hand, is not senseless.

When God wields that sword, it is to tear down all that humans have built up over and against God. It will then be replaced by something new. Not new offerings of animals and blood, as it says in Hebrews. God breaks down our human systems, for “human help is worthless.” God builds up new divine systems to reign over our lives. We have trouble seeing them, because while God’s Kingdom is being formed, it is indeed under construction.

No matter where you go in Florida, you are sure to run into a construction site of some kind. A road being remade or widened or improved, a new building going up on the corner where the old 7-Eleven used to stand. Construction slows us down, hurts our eyes, churns up dust, and is an inconvenience at its best. At its worst, it feels like nothing will ever be the same.

When God wields His sword to tear our world up, we must be thankful that nothing will ever be the same. God abolishes the first order when there is need for new order. That process is painful. But God’s love is higher than the heavens, and we are being made new day by day. When God is making your world new, do not simply go on and suffer. Instead, hide until the dust settles. When it does, welcome the second order of things, the new thing that God has built in your world or your life. Be grateful.

The Rev. Alison P. Harrity
St. Richard’s Episcopal Church
Winter Park, FL