As you quiet yourself for this brief time, be willing to be open to God, however that may take place.
Ezekiel 36:22-32 (NRSV)
Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord GOD: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. I will sanctify my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them; and the nations shall know that I am the LORD, says the Lord GOD, when through you I display my holiness before their eyes. 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. I will save you from all your uncleannesses, and I will summon the grain and make it abundant and lay no famine upon you. I will make the fruit of the tree and the produce of the field abundant, so that you may never again suffer the disgrace of famine among the nations. Then you shall remember your evil ways, and your dealings that were not good; and you shall loathe yourselves for your iniquities and your abominable deeds. It is not for your sake that I will act, says the Lord GOD; let that be known to you. Be ashamed and dismayed for your ways, O house of Israel.
Our cat Smokey has always been an adventurer. He was abandoned in a state park, so the first few months of his life were probably quite an adventure. Smokey’s biggest adventure came when his curiosity got him into trouble. He pulled up one of the HVAC vents, crawled into the duct work under the house, but then fell through the duct work into the crawl space. When I realized what had happened, I went under the house to look for him. When I found him, he was so scared that he wouldn’t come to me. I tried a live trap with tuna and chicken in it. He never came to it. Finally, after 3 days, Robin located a man whose business was removing animals from a home’s crawl space or attic. He rescued Smokey, who is safely back in the house with us.
Some may wonder why we would go to such trouble (and expense) for a rescued cat. It’s simple: When we rescued Smokey, I promised to love him and give him a home. Throughout the story of Israel, we read how the people were constantly turning away from God, how they didn’t seem to be very grateful for having being rescued from Egypt. Yet God had made a covenant with them. They were God’s people and God loved them, so God continued to rescue them and love them. The same is true for us. Why does God continue to love us, even in spite of ourselves? Why does God keep coming to us when we find ourselves in trouble? When we turn our backs upon God, why does God still chase after us? Because God loves us, and we belong to God.
God, we are yours. Thank you for loving us, for calling us your children, even though we can be very difficult at times. Amen.
Go with God.