You Shall Know The Lord Your God

Posted May 27, 2012 @ 8:48am | by Tripp

Here's my little homily for this morning's worship service at FBC, Palo Alto. Ezekiel 37:1-14

With all the strurm and drang, the cries of falling skies, it is strangely easy to forget the prophets.


We may be crying out for prophets, someone to make it all better, someone to make it all make sense, someone to tell us some good news that will make the world spin just a little more evenly on its axis, and help us remember to be kind to our neighbors, the poor, the widow, and the orphan. But in our crying out we so often miss the ones that are already here with us and are speaking God's truth. We're so distracted with being in Exile...


Well, that was the problem for the Israelites in Exile at least. This morning's prophet, Ezekiel, was speaking to Israel, the Israel who had been exiled to Babylon. The Israelites had lost their land. They had lost their place in the world. They had lost everything...because when they lost the Temple in Jerusalem they even lost their faith.


They were stuck in their loss and this “stuckness” caused them to dry up, to become like dry bones, lifeless...breathless, if you will. Being stuck can do that.


They cried out again and again...

Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost;
we are cut off completely.

It was not an easy situation.


For the longest time they could not hear the words of the prophets crying out for them. They could not read the words of the prophets “written on the subway walls and tenement halls” of their own time. But God never gives up. God is never stuck.


It's interesting to read the Hebrew scriptures and see this at work. God gets mad. God may even become destructive in these stories. And we have to be wise in how we read these old stories, but God never, ever gives up...even when God wants to. When it gets dark, lonely, hard, and everything has dried up...this is actually when God gets to work. So, what does God do? God calls somebody.


God calls somebody – somebody like Ezekiel (maybe somebody like you) – and puts them to work. Then God gets to work. God's Spirit puts them here and puts them there. God's Spirit lifts them up and sets them down. God gives them something to say and then...then God's spirit moves out over those who feel lost and dried up. It blows from every which place and their dry bones rattle in the wind...noisily click-clacking together until...


...they wake up.


...they wake up...

...they open their ears and their eyes...

...they hear the prophets...

...they see the messages...

...they hear and they understand...


You shall know the Lord your God.


We bemoan our loss. We get stuck. We think God has abandoned us. We are in Exile, but there is good news in Exile. There is always good news. The word of God to the Exiled is just this: You shall know the Lord your God. The Spirit blows from the four corners of the earth, from every which way. God breathes on us. It is Pentecost...always Pentecost. God is always breathing new life into the matter the time or the place.


You shall know the Lord your God.

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