Wednesday: March 14                                                         

Ezekiel 36:24-28

I will take you from the nations,

and gather you from all the countries,

and bring you into your own land.

I will sprinkle clean water upon you,

and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses,

and from all your idols I will cleanse you.

 A new heart I will give you,

and a new spirit I will put within you;

and I will remove from your body the heart of stone

and give you a heart of flesh.

  I will put my spirit within you,

and make you follow my statutes

and be careful to observe my ordinances.

Then you shall live in the land that I gave to your ancestors;

and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.

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            Pastoral Warning: Do not read the prophets all the way through, unless you are ready to hear the bad news as well as the good news.

            Yes, there’s good news.  Ezekiel declares, “you shall be my people, and I will be your God.”  A new heart and a new spirit will be given.  He tells the people they will dwell in the land God gave, and it will be abundant.  These are things we all want to hear:  Good times.  Good things.  Happy life.

            But the prophets build their good news on the bad news.  The reason for God’s acts of goodness is not because of the goodness of the people.  It is the opposite.  The people have not kept the Covenant.  They have profaned the name of God, living “evil ways and deeds that were not good.”

            God acts “not for your sake,” God says, “but for the sake of my holy name.”  And that is the really good news.  Even though we fail in our covenant relationship with God, God remains faithful.  God is our God.  As we make our journey through Lent, may we continue to grow in that presence of God that brings good news to our lives.

As we discover our struggles and short-comings, O Lord,

may your gracious and persistent love be revealed to us.

Rev. Richard Flowers

Shady Spring, WV

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