24 September 2013

Unchanged (Ezekiel 33)

We gather each week at a large boxy church.  We attend a Saturday night service, in a room with basketball hoops and a baptism tank, because this is the smallest of the 5 gatherings.  About 300 people is our average.  We sit in squishy chairs facing one platform.  Our fearless leader speaks to us for about 30 minutes from his heart and the Word.  We have four or five songs to sing, communion monthly, and tithe weekly.  We greet each other, we commune in the foyer, and we park our cars [and our behinds] in "our spots".  

We hear a message full of truth, faith, and purpose.  Come Tuesday morning, most of us, have trouble remembering the message title, let alone the three alliterated points.  We hear but it doesn't change us.  

Soaking words are heard with our ears but barely captured into the depths of our hearts.

“Now, son of man, your people are talking about you near the city walls and in the doorways of their houses. One person speaks to another, each saying to his brother, ‘Come and hear what the message is that comes from the Lord! ’ 
31 So My people come to you in crowds, sit in front of you, and hear your words, but they don’t obey them. Although they express love with their mouths, their hearts pursue dishonest profit.
32 Yes, to them you are like a singer of love songs who has a beautiful voice and plays skillfully on an instrument. They hear your words, but they don’t obey them. 
33 Yet when it comes— and it will definitely come — then they will know that a prophet has been among them.”

This was spoken, by God, of the Captives in Babylon.  God's people were sitting in front of Ezekiel and listening regularly to his words.  His truthful, purposeful and God-given words of warning, teaching, correction, and instructing.  And then they returned to work, family, and life and Ezekiel's words evaporated from their minds. 

Never able to flow from the mind to the heart. 
Never planting a seed.  
Never bearing fruit.

This picture of Israel is way too similar to my church, the Church, and our hearts today.  I find that I need to be diligent to tune my ears to hear the WORD of the LORD from the pulpit.  We sit there so often that it too easily becomes habit and we quickly lose the holy.  I need these words to chisel this stoney heart.

There is so much more from this passage, but today I'm meditating on obedience.  Being a dooer.  Proactive.  Responsible. Faithful.