These two passages were from several days ago, but I skipped them, being numerically challenged and all, so here they are.
These are for Sunday, 25 March 2007.
Ezekial 37: 12-14
As I read this, I am convinced that Paul loved Ezekial. God brings us up out of our graves, breathes [Their] spirit into us, and gives us new life. I am reassured by the idea of being brought up from my grave and living a new life. I love my new life. I realize that sometimes I am over self-reflective, and I am sure that I seem miserable. I am not. I am really quite happy in this skin, in this life, in this grace. I do, however, get overwhelmed with the ways in which I squander my grace and really don’t do anything with it compared to the things that Jesus trusted us to do. I mostly just live, I don’t revel and I should. I should walk, no dance, around with my head bowed and my arms raised to the glory of God, but then what would people say about me? Would they know that my grace comes from God? That I have been raised from the dead? Would they: “know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord”?
Yep, he loves Ezekial. We are only bound by the Spirit. Paul also says that those who are controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. I wonder, whenever I read this passage, and it seems to be a favorite of devotional writers, why Paul states the obvious. We cannot intentionally choose to do wrong and expect it to turn out as something that God approves of. I think Paul speaks of a more deep-seated problem: our desire to live a life rooted in ignoring God’s desires for our lives. I think essentially, Paul is not writing about a sin, but living in Sin. The big “S.” If our lives are controlled and entrenched in Sin, we cannot see our way out to do what pleases God. We are literally manipulated and controlled by our desire to do whatever the hell we want to do. I think Paul knew what it was like to be trapped there. I think deep down we all do. We have all been in a place where we can’t see God, don’t want to see God, and maybe even hope we don’t happen to bump into God. My Old Testament professor in seminary had a us read Psalm 139 from that frame of mind. Try it. Imagine that David is trying to escape God. “Where can I go from your presence? Where can I flee from your presence?” Maybe David was annoyed that he couldn’t get away not reassured that God was always there for him? We are hemmed in by the Spirit of God, if we seek to walk in the path of righteousness that is a comfort. But if we are trying to escape, if we are controlled by our sinful nature, it sucks to know that everywhere we turn, God is there.
I love this passage. I love it for unconventional reasons. I love it because finally Martha is recognized as more than Mary’s jealous sister. Check it out. Martha is the one, who when she hears that Jesus is coming, runs out into the street to greet him. She says to him: “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God, who was to come into the world.” She identifies Jesus as the Christ. Amazing. This woman that we have kept in the kitchen for two thousand years, boldly walks out into the street and proclaims the Messiah. I love this passage for all those women in the church, who have been called Marthas. Sisters, realize that not only was Martha the one who prepared the meal for Jesus, she was also the one who proclaimed his salvific powers. I am not in any way knocking Mary. I love Mary as well. I am sure I would have been more like her. I hate to cook and I am not astute enough to run out into the street to greet my visitors. I barely want to answer the door. I would be much more comfortable sitting around listening to Jesus talk, maybe while Becky did all the work. I would probably notice about half-way through the meal that I needed to help (I’m a little domestically challenged). Mary, after being beckoned by Martha (she must be the more worldly one since she knew Jesus was coming and Mary didn’t) greets Jesus, but she falls at his feet, weeping, moving him to tears. I love this story: Jesus the Messiah moved to tears. I’ve got nothing. Nothing but a weeping Jesus.