Ash Wednesday: Seeing Visions of God
In my thirtieth year, in the fourth month on the fifth day, while I was among the exiles by the Kebar River, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God. + Ezekiel 1:1
One of the threads that ties together the entire biblical narrative from Genesis to Revelation is the ongoing encounter between God and humankind. God chooses to be revealed to us through dreams and visions, and the Hebrew prophetic priest Ezekiel is no exception. The profound vision carried throughout the book of Ezekiel occurs during a time of political unrest, exile, and uncertainty for the people of Israel. Into this great time of despair, God speaks a word of challenge and hope through the visionary leader. This experience is known as a “theophany,” when God shows up.
Leaders who are led by God will be risk takers, led by God’s vision. As we begin the season of Lent, we are mindful of the many dreams and visions that we have wasted, that have burned like coals, and faded away because of our lack of attention and care. We mourn the death of our dreams. Like Ezekiel, wherever we are positioned - as a priest, a homemaker, a teacher, or a leader - on Ash Wednesday we see ourselves through the lens of exile. We have left the homeland of the vision of God’s realm; we have abandoned God’s dream. Through our own inaction, we have failed to faithfully tend one another’s dreams, we have failed to protect the earth. The dream of Eden escapes us. Today we confess the ways, big and small, that we have turned away from God. We confess that we are exiled from God’s dreams and visions for the church and the world.
Prayer: God, forgive us for failing to catch, hold onto, and nurture the dreams and visions you give us. Give our leaders hearts and minds receptive to the vision from heaven so that through the church the world may be renewed. Help us to make time to dream. Amen.
A big SALT thank you to Rev. Dr. Sarah Lund, author, preacher, justice-seeker, prayer, singer, and activist extraordinaire! Also, thank you to Chalice Press for publishing Sarah's beautiful words in, A Fellowship of Prayer - these devotionals are our go-to mediation resource for the 2016 Lenten season.