Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Ezekiel Today

The word of the LORD came to me: Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre:  Thus says the Lord GOD: Because you are haughty of heart, you say, "A god am I! I occupy a godly throne in the heart of the sea!"— And yet you are a man, and not a god, however you may think yourself like a god.  Oh yes, you are wiser than Daniel, there is no secret that is beyond you.  By your wisdom and your intelligence you have made riches for yourself; You have put gold and silver into your treasuries.  By your great wisdom applied to your trading you have heaped up your riches; your heart has grown haughty from your riches– 

Therefore thus says the Lord GOD:  Because you have thought yourself to have the mind of a god, Therefore I will bring against you foreigners, the most barbarous of nations. They shall draw their swords against your beauteous wisdom, they shall run them through your splendid apparel. They shall thrust you down to the pit, there to die a bloodied corpse, in the heart of the sea.  Will you then say, "I am a god!" when you face your murderers?  No, you are man, not a god, handed over to those who will slay you…”

Listen carefully to these words from Ezekiel who speaks of retribution – of the wealthy meeting their downfall because they believe they are high and mighty, and the poor are just the masses not having the skill or drive to become successful and able to influence the decision-makers who control their destiny.

Consider what has been said by Jim Wallis in his 2013 book “On God’s Side: What religion forgets and politics hasn’t learned about serving the common good.”  Wallis is unsettling because he speaks the truth – that which most of us don’t want to hear or perhaps don’t know.  He said: “Modern presidents of the United States are all millionaires; most senators are millionaires too, and all are dependent on millionaire donors (and members of Congress are moving in the same direction).  

All of our political campaigns are now controlled by money, and mere handfuls of incredibly wealthy people decide which candidates and campaigns will be viable. The Occupy movement has focused our attention on the top 1 percent who rule our economic structures; today the enormous gaps between the top and the bottom (and even the middle) of our society continue to grow.  While CEOs make five hundred times as much as their average workers, it’s clear that the logic of the world remains intact about who we regard as most important.”

Its five years since Wallis wrote his book, mid-term elections are approaching, and the next Presidential campaign has begun.  Ezekiel would say they are not gods.  Some of us think they are; most of us say not, and only those who seek the common good and put their gold and silver to charity are worthy to rule with justice as their goal.

As noted by Wallis, “When biblical prophets (such as Ezekiel) do hold their rulers, courts, and judges and landowners and employers accountable to the values of fairness, justice, and even mercy.  The theological reasons for that are, in fact, the same: the reality of evil and sin in the concentration of power – both political and economic – and the need to hold that power accountable to justice especially in the protection of the poor.”

It’s time for all us to be modern-day prophets with Ezekiel being our role model - accountability.

Deacon David Pierce

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