Ezekiel 47-48; Luke 2

The Sound of Salvation

The emperor decreed a census to measure his power,
Soldiers rattled their swords to inspire fear,
Wealthy citizens laughed in leisurely indifference,
Blacksmiths pounded as craftsmen planed and farmers scraped the ground,
Merchants bellowed the virtues of their wares,
Shoppers haggled the value of the merchandise,
Men murmured about what hardships their lives were,
Women chatted about what hardships their husbands were,
Children giggled the glee of their play,
Pharisees discussed nuances of Torah,
Beggars appealed to people walking by,
Animals bleated, brayed, neighed, barked, and yowled,
Shepherds leaned on their staffs talking about nothing,
A caravan drummed along the road,
Dishes rattled, pots clanked, and fires crackled in homes,
Flies hungrily hummed all around,
A snake slithered along without notice below a cooing dove,
A baby cried to change the world,
And Mary said nothing at all.

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Ezekiel 45-46; Luke 1

Shut Up!

Gabriel came to visit when Zechariah was shut up in the temple.
With wide-eyed dread, Zechariah whispered, “Shut up!”
“Excuse me?” said the angel.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean you shut up. It’s a saying—like ‘get out!’”
“Excuse me?” said the angel.
“Never mind,” stammered Zechariah.
Exasperated, Gabriel commanded, “Then you shut up and listen.
Your wife, whose womb has been shut up, will have a baby.”
The amazed priest laughed, “Shut up!”
“Excuse me? Weren’t you listening? She won’t be shut up any longer.
Her womb has been opened and she will have a son named John.”
“Shut up!”
“No, John won’t shut up. He will preach and turn people to the Lord.
He will prepare people to open their hearts to the coming Messiah.”
“Shut up! That can’t be.”
The angel had enough, “No, you shut up. And by shut up I mean shut up.”
Zechariah left the temple as a mute but had a twinkle in his eye.
When he got home and let Elizabeth know his intentions,
The old gal was dumbfounded and breathlessly said, “Shut up!”
Then she opened up her arms to him and God opened up her womb.
When the birth announcements went out, all her neighbors said, “Shut up!”
After John was born, the dedication ritual was performed.
Everyone assumed the baby would be named after dear old dad.
But Elizabeth said, “No! His name is John!”
“Shut up!” the congregation responded in disbelief.
Since she was only a woman, they turned to Zechariah
Who shut them up when he wrote, “His name is John.”
Then Zechariah shouted out his praise to the Lord,
“I will never shut up because there’s too much good news to tell
About this God who sets his people free.
A new day of peace is dawning, if you will trust the Lord.”
When the story was told of this miraculous day, people shook their heads and said,
“Shut up!”
Now that you know, please don’t.

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Ezekiel 42-44; Revelation 22

This Is Life

The source of life
is the River of Life
flowing from the Throne of Life
to water the Tree of Life,
that brings the nations to life
to live according to the rod of life
so they will be found in the Book of Life
through the Lord of Life
for an everlasting life
of life after life.

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Ezekiel 40-41; Psalm 128; Revelation 21

Paradise

I’m lying here in Paradise, waiting for the dawn.
It’s still too dark to see the glory all around.
But I hear the waves of grace clapping with the shore.
I breathe a fragrant love I can’t see though it’s clear.
I can even feel the beauty that I am longing to appear.
I’m lying here awake with a deep yearning hope
That the morning light will soon fulfill my faith’s dreams.

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Ezekiel 38-39; Psalm 145; Revelation 20

The One is One

The idle talk has it that God is schizophrenic
Since the Gods are diverse that you meet in Old and New.
It’s an apologetic for heretics and cynics
And an embarrassment for each faithful Christian and Jew.

Not knowing God, they draw their caricaturization:
First, the Deity who is creatively malicious;
Then, the gentle Lord, with forgiveness and salvation.
The gossips never worry that their God is fictitious.

Yes, Yahweh speaks of impending judgment and devastation
But he also shows great patience for sinful human beings.
Jesus, too, proclaimed this world’s annihilation
Even as he died and rose, eternal life guaranteeing.

I have to believe the debate is about perception.
For God assures us that one day all will be made well.
The enemies of God will disappear, without exception—
Either accepting his love or taking flight to hell.

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Ezekiel 36-37; Psalm 110; Revelation 19

It’s Time to Come Home

O graves, give up your slaves;
O Lord, breathe on these bones;
O bones, rise up and live:
It’s time to come home.

O exiles, please stop running;
O fighters, you can give up;
O rulers, humble yourselves:
It’s time to come home.

O sinners, we must be cleansed;
O nation, get a new heart;
O Spirit, come live within:
It’s time to come home.

O prophet, tell us the truth;
O people, be made holy;
O Bride, be dressed in white:
It’s time to come home.

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Ezekiel 33-35; Revelation 18

Wonders of the World

Seven wonders of the world, testaments of the human race,
proud achievements of the ages.
Aren’t we an important lot, able to build so brilliantly,
dreamers, masters, craftsmen, sages?
But all the wonders are now lost, destroyed by earthquakes and fire,
buried in history’s pages.
The Temple of Artemis, her fertility despoiled,
a huntress killed in wars’ rages.
Hanging Gardens of Babylon, lush gift from a king to his queen,
shrine of a fallen empire.
Lighthouse of Alexandria, seafarer’s landmark for home,
harbors no hope in its quenched fire.
Great Pyramid of Giza, to prove Khufu’s significance,
is merely a tomb to admire.
Olympia’s statue of Zeus, chief god on the mountaintop,
where did you go to retire?
See the tomb of Maussollos, synonymous with death’s houses—
Such remembrance must be odd.
Colossus of Rhodes, the gateway, the sun god bowed and disappeared,
exposed as an idol fraud.
Beware you who are dazzled with luxury’s brazenness—
its quick loss will leave you awed.
Seven, the faultless number, a sign of everything good,
in human hands perfectly flawed.

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