[FirstChurch Mailing List] Rest and Bread, Ezekial, his wheel and his bonesPsalm 6 [I remembered reading this during Lent -- 'cause I read one Psalm a day, in order -- and I appreciated hearing it today, even though I am definitely not that distraught.]
Rest and Bread tonight is a preview for Pentecost, as each service is, a preparation for a visit from Spirit.
In our series of biographical reflections, tonight, we learn about Ezekiel, how he was visited by God's Spirit, what he saw, and what it has to do with us.
Come and be prayed with and for tonight at 6. There will be a full glorious 15 minutes of silence (except for music for meditation). Our service begins at 6:15.
Growth committee meets at 7:15.
Sacred Text: Ezekiel 2:1-3:3 (with changes ... "mortal" instead of "son of man;" I think the Israelites were just referred to as "rebels," etc.)
Laura Ruth gave the Reflection.
She said that Ezekiel was around 570 BCE, when Israel's power was waning and the Babylonians were coming in and carving up pieces of it and taking Israelites into captivity. I definitely did not take notes on all of this, but I think she said that Ezekiel was on the fringe somewhere. She said he was a priest & prophet -- which was unusual at that time, although it's how Christians are ordained now.
She talked about the prophecy Ezekiel is given about the dry bones and I thought, "Didn't we do that Scripture reading?" But actually that was Holy Saturday at CWM (thank you, Ari -- since a site-specific Google search was uncharacteristically fail).
She said that from a Christian perspective, Ezekiel's story prefigures Pentecost (which she did say we celebrate as the birth of the Church) -- God breathing into people and giving them voice, though she then said that of course God doing that long predates Ezekiel (I later thought, "Yeah, like Adam"), he's just a very good example of it (and apparently it's one of the readings you have the option of doing for Pentecost). I thought, "But Pentecost is the birth of the church because it happens in community." As I was articulating to Ari tonight what about the Acts story of Pentecost makes it the story of the birth of the church (like the fact that everyone gathered heard it in their native language, symbolic of reaching out and being so much more than just a Jewish revival/reform movement), I realized that I was so stuck on community being the important part of our Pentecost story in reaction to Laura Ruth's analogy, if you had asked me previously to tell you what Pentecost is about, I probably would have said: fire, speaking in tongues, birth of the church (in that order).
She also talked about (and this was one of the pieces I was most struck by listening to the reading) God telling Ezekiel to eat the scroll and his finding it to taste as sweet as honey. She talked about embodying the Word by physically ingesting it and pointed out that we ingest the Word every time we take Communion, which I hadn't thought of (hi, I have a low theology of Communion) but which immediately made me think of the time we had milk and honey with Communion at CWM one Sunday.
Prayers of the People:
At Prayers of Thanksgiving, I said the first one -- thanksgiving for having a functioning washing machine again, thanksgiving for being able to afford the technician's visit and being able to afford to take the time off work, and thanksgiving for being able to afford to purchase a new washing machine because this is very much a stopgap fix.
Next, Gary said in that theme he gives thanks for the guy in Brookline who gave Althea a free washer.
Keith gave thanks for family visits at a graduation ... and his parents doing his laundry.
Laura Ruth gave thanks for the next-door neighbor who hauled away lots of trash from the basement, including a washing machine.
After service, I hugged Laura Ruth and asked if she was okay, said she had seemed rushed before service. She said she was rushed, is still catching up from being away, but that she's fine (and she sounded genuinely really cheerful and energetic). She asked how I was, and I said I'd been better. She got concerned-face (which was of course the reaction I had been looking for).
I said low-level anxiety flare-ups which I wasn't entirely sure the why of, plus I still haven't heard from my friend Terry and I really really really don't like that.
She said, "You knew you wouldn't hear from him for a while, right?" (in a way like she wanted to make sure she was remembering correctly, not like she was criticizing me for being upset about something I should have expected) and I said yeah, said my self-imposed deadline for when I'm allowed to contact him again is next week.
She said someone once asked her if she "carries" parishioners and she said yes she does and the person said, "Then you're not letting God do her part," and she was properly abashed. I laughed and said I try to do that but yeah the reminder is helpful, that you sit with people but you are not called to carry it all. She then said something like, "But I know how much you care about them," which I appreciated -- because yeah, of course I worry about those I love, and I think I actually do a good job of not trying to take on an undue portion of the stuff I should leave to God. I knew she had a meeting to go to, so I wasn't even going to request pastoral care in that moment ('cause it's not like I was in crisis, and getting to tell her -- and hold her hands while I did it -- and have her be sympathetic, was about what I was looking for ... yes, I want someone to sit with me and hold me for a long long time, but really I want to know something; I'm trying not to dwell SHUDDUP because talking about it doesn't really do me any good and I don't have anything to talk about anyway, since entertaining worst-case scenarios is not at all a good use of my thought processes) nevermind think about getting into a discussion about loving healthy caregiving and support -- though on reflection, it wouldn't be a bad conversation to have at some point (though she'll be busier than usual this summer with Molly on sabbatical).
After I was done, she changed topics and asked if I wanted to be a part of their summer small group series and I said yeah I'd been a part of the tail-end of that last summer and so long as it could be right after service on Wednesdays I could do it. She had apparently already put my name down -- though as she pointed out, she could easily have taken it off if I'd said no :)