Last week we talked about how Jesus expected his church to care for the sick, visit those in prison and feed the hungry. The role of the shepherd was to point to how the spiritual life of Jerusalem, how corporate and individual worship had gone astray. Idols, greed, lack of adherence to the law of God – the shepherd was to draw the people back to God and away from those things that would only bring harm. They failed in every respect.
No matter who we are, regardless if we are part of God’s church or his people, God is concerned about how we treat one another – especially his people and those who depend on God as their defender and shield. The nations Ezekiel prophesied against took advantage of Israel’s predicament – the Babylonian exile. They gloated over Israel’s fall; rejoiced in their misery; rushed to betray them.
As we look around our world and ask the question where is God in all of this? I wonder is God asking us in return, never mind where I am – where are you in all of this? Is the God you are looking for the God of scripture or some other god we’ve imagined or would like to be real. A god who’s always there for us, who does what we ask of him but in reality, leaves us alone the rest of the time allowing us to live our lives however we want and is actually quite happy with this arrangement. This is not the god of scripture
Today is our first Sunday back in Moneydig Church. I wonder how do we feel about this? How do we see or understand the fact we’re back? Is it an opportunity, a second chance or simply the continuation of what has always been?
Folks, where do we find meaning? There has been a lot of talk this week about exam results. Young people not getting the results they expected, worrying they won’t have the future they hoped for. Do we place to much meaning in exams? Do we try to find meaning in the freedoms we fight for? Freedom to march; to marry; live as we want. What have these freedoms cost us? Do these freedoms help us to find meaning in life? Jesus said he is the vine. Apart from him we can do nothing. (John 15:5) The only place we can find meaning for life is in Jesus Christ, everything else is ultimately useless, fit for burning.
As we read chapters 12, 13 and 14 it isn’t a new vision we’re presented with but a play for Ezekiel to act out. Ezekiel’s play was for the benefit of those already exiled in Babylon with him. It was a play about the fate of Jerusalem and its people, from the king, to the lowliest servant. The exiles were being told what would happen in Jerusalem so as they would get into their head that God was serious about the punishment he was promising to bring forward.
This Sunday our Minister Stuart is on holiday. We are recommending that you attend either Templepatrick Presbyterian Church which will be live at 11 am or the Moderators service which is available now.
As Ezekiel cried out to God so he heard something wonderful. God promised that even for those in Exile; even in his anger; in his perfect justice and judgement, God would still care for his people. He would be a sanctuary. God promised Ezekiel that he would bring his people back not only to Jerusalem, but to that special covenantal relationship with God. ‘They will be my people, and I will be their God.’ (11:20)
This morning we welcome Rev Richard Gregg from Burnside Presbyterian Church as our guest speaker. Richard will be speaking on Psalm 84.
This morning we welcome Rev John Coulter, minister in Ballysally Presbyterian Church. John and Stuart are taking part in a virtual pulpit swap.