Ezekiel is in exile with his countrymen in Babylon. After all his prophecy, harsh words, prophetic actions, he is captured. He is one of those whose cry is so deeply expressed in Psalm 133, “There we wept as we remembered Zion.” A very bleak situation.
Even before the captivity, Ezekiel expressed hope. His prophetic action of buying a vineyard, even as the Babylonians closed in on Jerusalem was meant to express the confidence that God had control, and that God would care for the Israelites.
The image of God as the good shepherd occurs again and again in scripture, and will be picked up by Jesus. And this shepherd in Ezekiel cares for the scattered and lost sheep of the people, feeding healing, and loving them back into relationship. This shepherd promises justice, which for those who have lost everything, from their home to their religious and cultural heritage to even their temple, lying in ruins in Jerusalem, seems something that has become totally inaccessible.
We live in a time when many of us see justice as unattainable. Harsh policies, an increase in our division, and expressions of violence and hate echo throughout our news sources and our social media. God as a shepherd who guides, feeds, heals, and brings us back into promised peace is something we need as deeply as scattered Israel did.
Good Shepherd, reach us where we are and give us hope, open us to your love, grant us peace and joy in this holy season. Let we us know the promises of your flock and your care. Amen.
Rev. Julie Holm is the pastor of the Brush Valley Fusion of Faith, three UCC and ELCA churches in rural central Pennsylvania.
©2018 by individual authors and Facebook Narrative Lectionary Group. This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.