To the Earth’s Guardians on Maundy Thursday

Photo credit here

S (Scripture): Psalm 47

God is king over the nations.

    God sits on his holy throne.

The leaders of all people are gathered

    with the people of Abraham’s God

    because the earth’s guardians belong to God;

        God is exalted beyond all.

O (Observation): The people of God assume that all people will eventually praise God. All will praise God for God is sovereign Christ over all the earth. Not a dictator, but a benevolent ruler, seeking the good for all people.

The people may not all be unified in belief or allegiance, but they will all recognize God in some form or fashion, because all belong to God.

A (Application): It’s been a minute folks. I have not posted in over a month, I think. I am happy that Holy Week is my venture back into this possibility of promise and praise of our God.

I am weary, as most of us are these days.

I celebrated my 19th anniversary with my lovely wife, while we are locked down at home. I stay busy working from home, equipping our ELCA congregations in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee. I teach my children when they get stuck with schoolwork, and I try to not annoy my wife too much : )

We are all weary. This week, today, in fact, we remember Jesus gives a true example of what it means to be a servant-leader. A servant-leader will get down on a knee and do something as lowly as wash feet. Will give fully of their self, even to the point of pouring one’s self out completely. This is Maundy Thursday.

This example is why people will flock to our God, why all the earth’s guardians will bend their knees. Not out of compulsion or force. Rather, the earth’s guardians flock to our God, for our God is a just and benevolent God, who – in the form of Jesus – first bent the knee to serve us.

Blessed Maundy Thursday, folks. Be well.

P (Prayer): Lord God, you first served us. Help us now to use that example to serve others. Amen.

Adapting.

Photo credit here

S (Scripture): Ezekiel 44:4 Then he brought me by way of the north gate to the front of the temple. I looked, and suddenly the Lord’s glory filled the Lord’s temple, and I fell on my face. 5 Then the Lord said to me: Human one, pay close attention! Use your eyes and ears and listen to all that I say to you concerning the regulations of the Lord’s temple and all its instructions. Pay close attention to the access to the temple through all the sanctuary portals. 6 Speak to the rebels, to the house of Israel, The Lord God proclaims: Enough of your detestable practices, house of Israel! 7 You made my temple unclean because you brought into my sanctuary foreigners who were physically and spiritually uncircumcised.

O (Observation): God continues to reveal a prophetic word to Ezekiel. These words are focused on the Temple that is to be and how God’s people went astray in the Temple before.

God’s people allowed those who did not follow God to enter the holiest of God’s locale on earth. God never wanted to be separate from the world. However, God’s people were called to centralize their faith journey around a place – The Temple.

God’s people were called to gather in this place to renew their hearts and minds, to be reminded of God’s love, to be reminded that forgiveness happens with God.

Yet God’s people took advantage of God’s grace, allowing for the Temple to be run by people who followed other gods.

Those who did not fear God were not circumcised. In this case, God refers to those uncircumcised physically OR spiritually! That’s a big deal. God has moved from a purely physical circumcision – common enough for males – to a spiritual circumcision. In other words, regardless of one’s gender, one could be considered holy simply by being through a change of the heart, saved by grace through faith.

A (Application): Times change. Our expression of faith changes over time. Our faith used to be expressed simply by showing up to worship, giving offering, attending Sunday School and the like.

Nowadays, faith is lived out less and less in the sanctuary and more and more in the streets and in the home. The home was always to be a place of faith formation, but we have gotten used to faith being “taught” by professionals.

The scary part these days is that we don’t know what faith formation looks like anymore, since our old measures are no longer valid. Attendance at church on Sunday morning and robust committees are no longer the central point of Faith formation. They are still important, but how that takes shape is different now.

As mentioned in Ezekiel, a spiritual circumcision is now the norm. And that is harder to see. In that case, we move to different clues about the faith of others. We look to see how a person of faith bears fruit in the home, in the work place, in their volunteering, amongst strangers and such. These are harder metrics to track down.

We are grateful that we can adapt to faith formative practices and embrace the Spirit’s movement in our world today. God sends prophetic visions to us so that we can wrestle with what God is saying to us and how we can respond in faith.

May we have eyes to see and ears to hear what God is up to in our ever changing world.

P (Prayer): Lord, open our eyes and ears to your saving grace. Amen.