The Daily: Saturday December 9, 2023

Daily Lectionary Reading: Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13 (NRSV, The Message); Ezekiel 36:24-28 (NRSV, The Message); Mark 11:27-33 (NRSV, The Message)
I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed. I’ll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands. You’ll once again live in the land I gave your ancestors. You’ll be my people! I’ll be your God!
Ezekiel 36:26-28 (The Message)
So this passage weighs 2 tons, especially in the midst of our current circumstances in Israel and Gaza. However, it is important for us to hold and ponder.

There are, at least, a couple of messages in this passage, two prophetic streams. The prophet was writing specifically to the people of Israel, prophesying their return to God and God's restoration of their hearts and their land. As readers 3,000 years later, we are eavedropping on a personal, mythological conversation.

What might we hear from the Still Speaking God today in these passages?  Most clearly, across cultures and millenia, the prophetic call is for our spirits to be renewed and our hearts to be cleansed and softened - in relation to God, oursleves, one another, the planet, the cosmos. This is what God asks of us through the mouths and words of multiple faith traditions. As to the land-promise, God does not give particular people particular lands - to the extent that an anthropomorphised land-granting God gives land to people at all, God provides land to all people, all creatures to live in and cooperate with and share. We currently are in a season of being much more concerned about land and borders than we are our hearts. However, I choose to be naive enough to imagine that if we ALL were to intentionally and stubbornly focus on our own renewed spirits, cleansed and softened hearts, the land problem would take care of itself. 

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