This morning as we gather around the Lord’s table, albeit in a different way to normal, we are confronted with our hope in the foreign land in which we live. As we peel back the top of our bread and wine this morning we see more than just food and water, we see an expression of the promise that God has made to each one of us who has come to trust in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour. We see the debt of our sin paid and the way open to a new temple where God reigns and we are invited to join him.
This story is full of what people could see and how it affected them. The pharisees jealous of the numbers Jesus was attracting, the woman who saw the differences between Jews and Samaritans, the disciples who saw something out of the ordinary. Compare all this to what Jesus saw.
If we as Christians are to withstand the elements of life, then our roots need to go deeper. We are incredibly good at developing shallow roots. We get involved in lots of activities, we cover a lot of ground in church, we are busy, loyal, dedicated people. There is a lot of surface activity but not very much depth. Paul writing to the Ephesians tells them that he prayed for their roots. He said this in 3:17 ‘May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvellous love.’ (nlt) The question tonight is how do we develop deep roots?
This vision was a reminder that God had not forgotten his people or decided to withhold his mercy. It was a promise that one day there would be a life outside of exile. It’s worth noting that in this vision Ezekiel is being shown a life centred around God, life which is watered by the streams that flow through the temple, life that comes from God. This is the hope in which we come to God this morning, hope that regardless of who we are, or what’s going in in our lives, and I know for some of us life’s hard. Covid worries, job worries, family worries. I’ve talked to people who’ve told me they never imagined life would be like this. The hope of Ezekiel is the promise of a new life, a new heaven, a new earth. It is the hope of a new beginning when we come to Christ because we know the mess of the past will be left behind.
Our minister Stuart is off on holiday - he will be back next Sunday - we hope you enjoy the moderators service which was recorded last weekend.
Our minister Stuart Morrow is on holiday this week. Please enjoy the service from Templepatrick Presbyterian or the Moderators service from last Sunday (27th September)
Rev Dr David Clarke takes the service in Moneydig on 4th October 2020
It’s among these dry bones, in the dark tunnel, during the hopelessness, darkness; in the midst of the sin in our lives that eats us up inside that God said this to Ezekiel, and please to anyone who feels like this, listen carefully. ‘For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a new heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.’ (Ezekiel 36:24-27)
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.