Ezekiel 44

A chapter about the renewal of the priesthood to Levitical standards, part of a series of visions about the restored temple in Jerusalem after Israel’s exile to Babylon. The reality in history fell woefully short, despite a brief but passionate revival of national religious fervour that tore many mixed families apart.

It all seems quite remote, I must say from my holiday. Here we are white water rafting

That’s me Kelly and Rennie in the back, and our friends Kirsten and Taylor in front. Within seconds Kirsten was victim of an involuntary kick from Taylor and out of the boat!

The integration of the local Mouri culture is much more natural and ever-present in NZ than aboriginal culture in Oz. We recited a cheiftan’s blessing before we went over this waterfall, and were told the story of how deceased chief’s bodies were left by the river at the bottom of the fall to be taken to eternity by the next flood.

80% tourist moonshine, no doubt. It has a good dramatic effect building tension for the most dangerous part of the trip. It was interesting how much the guides apologised for the religious element. The expectation that people will object to spirituality. But the acknowledgement of indigenous life is everywhere here.

So…

On the one hand God, in a vision of perfect Judaism. The priest of the right race, gender, tribe, subset of tribe, wearing the right clothes, on the right day, after the right rituals, may enter the chamber adjacent to the chamber where God is.

God is radioactive. Impossible.

On the other hand, the popular spirituality: watered down, apologised for, used for cultural background to a tourist experience.

What a gulf.

The whole Ezekiel passage is thrown off balance by a reference to a “prince” in v3 who can be before god, who rabbis identify as the messiah.

And I believe Jesus is there, to bridge the gulf.

But this holidays, I’m feeling the size of the gulf, even so. 

 

 

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