November 2019


 “I will display my glory among the nations”

Ezekiel 39.21   (NIV)


Ezekiel was a visionary prophet who embraced the theme of personal responsibility in the building of the relationship between the people of Israel and God. Simultaneously, he placed God at a great distance away, in awesome majesty: the book is full of dramatic imagery, echoed in Revelation, which describes his vision of the almighty God.

These chapters (33-39) announce the restoration of the people of Israel and emphasise that it is achieved through the grace of God, the shepherd who searches out his lost sheep and cares for them (ch 34). Before this restoration, however, there is a tremendous battle between the Lord’s people and the forces of evil led by Gog and Magog – they are destroyed, and Israel knows that their God is Lord.  (There are echoes of this in Revelation 20.8, where John refers to Gog and Magog as representing all who oppose God in the last great battle instigated by Satan at the end of time). Even more, all nations shall see the judgement and then the restoration of the house of Israel – “I will display my glory among the nations”.

The Church can easily be taken up with wall-to-wall words and activities. We have to place the ideas of wonder, of delight in beauty and in God as absolute beauty more centrally in our ‘portfolio of Ways to God’.  We don’t want to be taken up by so many commitments to Doing that we lose the ability to experience the glory of God by Being.

We try in our times of silence to consider the Word of God with our minds, our hearts, and then, in intercession, with our wills. But we have to connect our spirituality with our everyday life, and this is the tricky bit. Where does action come in – how do we reveal the glory that we see in all that we do? “What is conceived in the mind needs to connect with the desires of the heart if they are ever to be accomplished by the will” says Michael Marshall.

So we can remember that phrase ‘When the worship is ended, the service begins’.   We absorb the glory of God, we reflect that glory in our lives – but only by standing with Christ in the middle of the world, in the mess and muddle and mystery of it all.