Today's Lectionary Text
Then the word of the Lord came to me: Mortal, your kinsfolk, your own kin, your fellow exiles, the whole house of Israel, all of them, are those of whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, “They have gone far from the Lord; to us this land is given for a possession.” Therefore say: Thus says the Lord God: Though I removed them far away among the nations, and though I scattered them among the countries, yet I have been a sanctuary to them for a little while in the countries where they have gone. Therefore say: Thus says the Lord God: I will gather you from the peoples, and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel. When they come there, they will remove from it all its detestable things and all its abominations. I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them; I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, so that they may follow my statutes and keep my ordinances and obey them. Then they shall be my people, and I will be their God. But as for those whose heart goes after their detestable things and their abominations, I will bring their deeds upon their own heads, says the Lord God.
Then the cherubim lifted up their wings, with the wheels beside them; and the glory of the God of Israel was above them. And the glory of the Lord ascended from the middle of the city, and stopped on the mountain east of the city. The spirit lifted me up and brought me in a vision by the spirit of God into Chaldea, to the exiles. Then the vision that I had seen left me. And I told the exiles all the things that the Lord had shown me.
I come from a family of missionaries.
My aunt and uncle were stationed in Iran and the Philippines – in both places, before trouble began – and now, in their late 70s, they spend much of the time in India, where they both teach at a seminary (they return to their home in Indiana when India gets too hot; their tolerance for the heat starts to be tested at 110 degrees).
Their children, my cousins, spent parts of their lives as teachers and administrators at schools for missionary kids in Mexico and Papua, New Guinea.
I thought of them when I read the lectionary for today from Ezekiel 11:14-25, particularly the 16th verse, “This is what the sovereign Lord says: Although I have scattered you in the countries of the world, I will be a sanctuary to you during your time in exile.”
I have undying respect for my family, taking the Gospel to places on the planet where it might not have reached otherwise, as well as being a conduit for others to spread the word of Jesus.
I’m sure through the years they have felt “scattered” as well. When I was a kid, I remember air mail letters from my Aunt Nancy that arrived 2 ½ to 3 weeks after they were sent. My Uncle Dale was and is an early tech adapter, and I recall them trying to talk via video on computer to their children in the early days of phone-line hookups, where the sound was several seconds off, and the video stuttered and stalled frequently.
But that was a small price to pay for what they have considered as their mission in life – to gain disciples for Jesus. It’s been their calling for more than 55 years, and I love their passion for raising new believers.
Prayer for Reflection
Lord, you “scatter” us daily. Sometimes it’s within our workplace, school or social areas; sometimes it’s in different countries. Let the seeds you scatter from us take root and bloom, all for Your name. Amen.
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