Looking Back with a Nod to Church

Looking Back with a Nod to Church

Ezekiel 2-2-5
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

My job/role/mandate/commission
as an ordained minister
is to first, be prophetic;
second, be pastoral;
third, be human and try and have a life.
Sometimes they seem to be in conflict,
but they aren’t, really.
Sometimes I have to say, “No,”
and speak out of a prophetic voice
and proclaim how what God expects
does not fit with our actions.
Sometimes I need to be present
in a way that models
the comfort of a loving, caring,
God in the midst of loss, grief, suffering and pain.
So when I read this scripture I start to understand,
sort of,
how so many ministers can get stuck off track,
becoming hard-nosed prophets
and lose touch
with what I believe is God’s
message to us through Jesus.
This text was written by an old-testament,
fundamentalistic prophet
who cut no slack
for the perceived wrongs
of a group
he has made into a dire enemy of God.
What do we know about this prophet?
We know that no matter that
these were his own people,
no matter that
they were as broken and as scared and as crushed
as was he,
they were not fulfilling
notion of the nature
of a godly nation and so
he hears
his God
bring down the hammer on them
in a diatribe of poisonous vitriol.
I do not see being this kind of prophet
as useful to mine,
or anyone’s
pastoral role.
I understand my role
as one that offers possibilities
for openings to God’s love.
Let me turn around this scripture:

We are not a defiant bunch. We want to know that a prophet’s been here, but we don’t want to be afraid of either our God or God’s prophet. We don’t want living with God or this prophet to be like stepping on thorns or finding scorpions in our beds. AND, I do not want to be afraid of their mean words or their hard looks. We are not a bunch of rebels, or hardened rebels, we are a broken people who need to be spoken to with kindness and love and shown how to heal.

And how do we want to be remembered as a people of God?
What will they say of us in later years?
I should say that
I am not only referring to
the conservative bigots and mean-speakers,
but also to the liberal bigots and mean-speakers.
Understand that
both sides will see themselves as so
self-righteously right
that they each will understand
this writing as irrelevant to themselves
and their own hyperbole.
We are all broken and in need of healing.
Our spite,
our vicious words,
our mean-spirited bitterness
toward the other side of our various arguments,
is our fear which
So for both the proclaimers of
Right-wing and Left-wing hate,
the time has come for love.
I am trying to find ways
to point out the wrongness of
bigotry and hate,
cruelty and injustice,
greed and arrogance,
entitlement and bad theology
while opening doors to
healing and grace and liberation.
AND, if I am to be remembered,
I want it to be for being one who
built bridges,
tore down walls,
enabled love,
facilitated hope and
negotiated freedom
for the prisoners of despair.
In truth isn’t what we all
want to be known for?


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