“Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice.”
Yesterday, I sat on the walking bridge in Liberty Island State Park. The park itself provides a view of the back side of the Statue of Liberty and the New York skyline. From there the city feels both smaller than me yet larger than life.
It as if I can stretch the span of my arms and hug the city, while hit with the realization that I was just one looking across at a city of 8 million.
I imagine that would be how the Statue of Liberty feels all the time. She, a symbol of “freedom” and “enlightenment” and “independence from a control” staring or perhaps watching over a city that never sleeps. She is the cities watchman…
…on an island alone. Sometimes when you are alone for a good bit of time, alone in your thoughts or in your surroundings or in your loneliness, God, the only, comes and reminds you of your calling. Alone in your loneliness comes the Omnipresent to remind us of a purpose.
Which is why in chapter 33 of Ezekiel, after various conflicts including the death of his wife, the overtaking of his home nation and the fall of surrounding nations, God whispers, “Hey Zeke, you’re a watchman, remember. Remember what watchman do; they hold people accountable and warn them of what is coming. They are both the eyes, ears and mouthpiece. I need you to be the watchman I’ve called you to be.”
Ezekiel is a watchman for a group who shouts back, “God’s ways are not full of justice” or in other words these people think their definition of justice trumps Gods. We live in a generation that purports to know what is just.
But whether or not this generation does have a good idea of justice or whether politically charged sensibilities even matter at all is a different discussion.
As has been the case with my entire reading of the book of Ezekiel, I am more interested in what Ezekiel’s life and obedience has to say to you and me even more than his prophetic messages. Because the books consistent theme is, the majority of the people will reject Ezekiel’s message and ultimately God, and they will suffer ruin. It’s consistently a generation that pretends to listen and speak of love but are greedy for an unjust gain (33:31).
Even though Ezekiel is heard as a prophet, he is obscure. Sometimes obscurity looks like total irrelevance, and sometimes it is visibly misunderstood. Ezekiel is a Statue of Liberty, a reminder of something good, in Ezekiel’s case a reminder of God, but alone on an island.
The Love Score
I’ve never loved New York City and there are days when I wished I never loved. I don’t hate New York City and there are days when I think I’d like to get away with letting myself embrace hatred. But I can’t and I don’t or moreover God loves me too much to let me.
God designed a love song sung with a beautiful voice on an instrument played well with an audience to hear, but that’s sometimes where it ends.
But then there also is this Ezekiel 33:33 “When all this comes true—and it surely will—then they will know that a prophet has been among them.” Often there is a promise attached to our calling.
In Ezekiel’s case the promise is recognition of standing for truth and for God and a legacy of writing in Scripture. That’s pretty good if you ask me.
Often I have forgotten both the promise, the calling, the good feelings from God. But I can’t forget God’s mercy and love.
It’s too unobscured.
My hope and my joy is to put into practice the song God sings over me.