He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.” Matthew 13
When things are really getting tough, when any reason for hope seems to be wanting, we yearn to hear words of assurance, words of resurrection. It was during such a time that Ezekiel prophisized. Ezekiel lived during the early part of the Babylonian captivity of Israel. He was among the first to be carted off to Babylon. Things looked dismal. Ezekiel did not give into the temptation to think that the exile would be short lived. He saw that the exile would be protracted and that holding onto faith in the face of such destruction was paramount. With the religious and governmental institutions failing, Ezekiel emphasizes the importance of the spiritual life. He is a mystic that searches for God in through death and resurrection. His faith in Yahweh is exemplified in the story of the dry-bones, when they are resurrected to new life.
The parallels to our own time are remarkable. The religious and governmental institutions are failing us. We have become, like Israel, a people divided, choosing to see our differences over that which unites us. In this regard the church has done nothing to help us. It continues to proclaim a world of division, preferring the “insider/outsider” motif over one of unity. Even as we live through a time when the world and our nation needs to come together to work on survival, many have chosen paths of division and hate.
Like Ezekiel, we are living in a time when our faith must deepen spiritually. Perhaps we need to even see with the eyes of the mystic, which understands that long term suffering is never the end in itself. It is for this reason Ezekiel becomes such a powerful figure for people enslaved in this country. The spiritual “Ezekiel Saw De Wheel” is an example of this deep faith in God’s promise. It shows hope, a deep hope for change. This is the same message that Jesus proclaims to us, that death, in all its forms, will not have the final word. Living into the resurrection is not a naive denial our suffering, but a persistent trust that God’s word and promise to us in Jesus Christ will indeed be fulfilled.