The first reading on Sunday came from the prophet Ezekiel.
The spirit came into me and made me stand up, and I heard the Lord speaking to me. He said, ‘Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to the rebels who have turned against me. Till now they and their ancestors have been in revolt against me. The sons are defiant and obstinate; I am sending you to them, to say, “The Lord says this.” Whether they listen or not, this set of rebels shall know there is a prophet among them.’
Pity the prophet sent by the Lord and rejected by those who he (or she!) is sent to.
And yet by the mercy of God even such rejection can be a way to greater gifts being won and shared with his people.
Jesus saves finally not by being a prophet or a miracle worker, a healer, but by embracing his defeat at the hands of men. Paul finds himself strongest when he is pushed beyond his strength, but finds the way of relying on God’s strength, on the power of Christ.
The way to the kingdom of God, to the good life, to holiness, is a secure one for us, for the Lord is our shepherd.
Sometimes he will lead us through the valley of the shadow of death. But he leads. And we can follow confident that our struggle and even our failure can be part of the Lord’s ultimate triumph.
Image of Ezekiel from Ambo at French Church, Leicester Square. (c) 2007, Allen Morris.