Not My Job

Reflection on Ezekiel 2:1-5 and Mark 6:1-13, Sixth Sunday after Pentecost Proper 9,  for 2015 Abingdon Creative Preaching Annual. (Here is a link for the 2014 issue.)

When I get weary in my work, I turn to Ezekiel. His life always makes mine seem easier by comparison. I’ve never had to eat a divine scroll (3:3). I’ve never had to lie on my side for 390 days to make a point to Israel (4:5) The list is long for why I am glad to not be Ezekiel. But that isn’t the primary reason I turn to him when weary.

When he is sent to prophesy to the people of Israel, he is reminded his job is only to speak the divine word. Whether people respond or not is not his job.

There is something freeing about separating the job from the response. “Whether they hear or refuse to hear, they shall know there has been a prophet among them”.

I’m no Ezekiel, I try not to equate myself with the prophets of old—most days—but surely we are meant to remember Ezekiel when we hear how it went for Jesus in his hometown. Because there was a prophet among them, and they showed him nothing but contempt. “Isn’t this the carpenter, the son of Mary?”

The “impudent and stubborn” people Ezekiel are warned about are the same people whose disbelief keeps Jesus from getting anything done in his hometown.

There are times when it seems our small little voice is not enough to be heard over the din of negativity, cynicism, and vitriol in our society. And we think, “why do I bother?” But then we remember the call to speak the divine word of love, Good News, and mercy. And we turn to God for the spirit to enter us and set us on our feet, as it did for Ezekiel. And we shake the dust off our feet and move on with the message.

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