I have read this passage in Ezekiel many times and it was only recently that I realized that God is talking to the mountains! But not only the mountains, “...and say to the mountains and hills, to the ravines and valleys; ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says...’” (36:6b). Has God lost God's mind? Talking to the mountains, hills, ravines and valleys?
I immediately recalled a camp leaders' training week that I attended many years ago at China Lake in Maine. We were using a summer camp curriculum that emphasized nature and our stewardship of it – How we needed to become good stewards of the earth. One of our tasks was to go out and “hug” a tree and talk to it! Most of us did, reluctantly. However, one of the group made friends with his tree. He would visit it daily, talk with it, hug it and sit under its branches. It became his tree. He took the brunt of our jokes – he did not care – this tree was a part of God's creation and now his life—he adopted its care.
Now, he was also a great advocate for the poor, needy, widows and orphans. He was not just concerned with his tree. He reminded us of our need to be stewards of all of the earth. That we live in relationship with all of creation. I am sure that he would be devastated by the recent events in the Gulf of Mexico. He would raise questions about our stewardship responsibilities to all of creation. He would remind us of Ezekiel and how God speaks to the mountains!
Of course there are those who will say God was not actually speaking to the mountains. God was only using this as a metaphor for something else. We cannot really imagine a God who talks to mountain, hills, ravines and valleys. We have institutions for people who behave like that!
But stop and ponder it for a while. God is telling the mountains to prepare for the return of the people of God. He is asking them to prepare for a homecoming. A celebration of forgiveness, hope and reconciliation. The displaced people of God are coming home. They will need all that the mountains, hills, valleys and ravines can provide. God is preparing a place. God is the God of all creation. Hear again what the disciples asked about Jesus after he calmed the wind and the waves: “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him” (Mk 4:41b). Are wind and waves any different than mountain and hills?|
God is preparing a place. Is this not our hope? But while God is preparing a place we are asked to be stewards of the place God has provided for us now. We are called to be stewards of God's earth – to care for the mountains, hills, valleys and ravines. And in caring for them we discover that we are also caring for the people of God—those who rely on the mountains, hills, valleys and ravines for homes, food, etc. We are called to be stewards of the lakes, ocean and seas.
Hug a tree! God will understand!
September Scripture and Sermons
Note: Click the mouse on the underlined scripture reference
to open a window to that passage.
September 5 – Communion Sunday
Jeremiah 18:1-11; Luke 14:34-35
Exodus 32:7-14; I Timothy 1:12-17
“A God of Grace”
Amos 8:4-7; Luke 16:1-13
“What IS Jesus Saying?”
Amos 6:4-7; Luke 16:19-21
We need help...we need people to help in reading Scripture and leading in worship -- we don't ask you to do this alone - we will help, train, encourage and support. You can do it, we have confidence in you. See the pastor or Jim Erickson if you are interested.