January 2022

'I will manifest my glory among you, in the sight of the nations' Ezekiel 20.41

Trying to read the Book of Ezekiel can be the despair of the ordinary reader, as it is of many scholars too.  An editor has compiled material from different contexts and we have to admit that it is hard to make sense of it all.  However, it is clear that the first 24 chapters were apparently prophecies delivered in Jerusalem before the fall of the city in the face of the Babylonian army in 586 BC.


Ezekiel is a priest, and the God of whom he writes is utterly transcendent and yet passionately committed to the welfare of the People of Israel and intimately involved in human history.  He is full of ‘glory’, in contrast to the unworthiness of the people.  It is this unworthiness that has contributed to the exile which was such a tragedy for the People, and in turn the restoration in the sight of the surrounding nations was very important so that they should recognise God’s power and his ‘glory’.


The Glory of God is seen as we observe what God is doing among us.  In St John’s Gospel the whole work is a description of the way in which the Glory of God is shown to us through the Incarnation and through the signs described in the Gospel.  This message is then communicated through us to the world around us and ultimately to the ends of the earth, to the ‘nations’. Babylon was a pagan, polytheistic place with a host of gods of all kinds to worship and so it is not surprising that Ezekiel’s vision and call centres on the majesty and Glory of God and his reiterated message is that Israel and all the nations in the world should one day ‘know that I am the Lord’ – a phrase which is repeated over 50 times in the book.


As a priest, Ezekiel has a passionate intensity – towards God, and towards his hearers in his message. The ‘glory’ of God is at the heart of his message.  That ‘glory’ implies the presence of God and his action in creation and in history.


In our times of contemplation we seek to experience something of the presence of God, of his action and his wonder and glory, as we listen to his words.


A Watchword might be simply ‘My Glory’.