It is said that one of Ezekiel’s tasks was to prepare the people of Israel, held captive in Babylon, for the final destruction of Jerusalem. We are taught that this destruction paved the way for the Lord’s beautiful new covenant with His people. It is good to keep this in mind, because it never is easy to make sense of catastrophe.
I write these words at Fort Robinson in far northwest Nebraska,
near the old Red Cloud Agency, a few yards from the scenes of two awful catastrophes.
I shed tears over these stories, yet I return to this place as
often as I can. When I must leave, my heart stays here. I do not fully understand
why. Maybe a piece of my spirit must stay here until I do understand.
Stories of destruction are difficult to contemplate, yet they
are magnetic. How do we make sense of the angels of destruction described
by the prophet Ezekiel, mowing down old men, women and children? Today’s
reading is Ezekiel’s vision, provided to him by “Spirit.” Commentaries tell
us that Ezekiel was vindicated in 587 BC when Babylonian ruler Nebuchadnezzar
accomplished the destruction foretold by the Spirit-inspired prophet. We
should remember that the Book of Ezekiel closes with a narrative of Israel
rising to new life. However, today’s reading focuses exclusively on destruction.
We must wait for another day to read of the Lord’s fulfillment of His promise.
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