by Tom Brennen
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‘You shall be my people, and I will be your God’ (Ezekiel 36:28).
357: Does that number mean anything to you? I know it does to a friend of mine named Jon.
Jon and I used to play in a church band together. One consequence of growing up in the church was that Jon knew the All Together songbooks so well that you could give him a number and he would know the name of the song and which book it came from. That was a surprisingly handy skill.
357 in All Together Now is the song ‘Give us hearts to know you’. It came to mind when I reflected on this passage from Ezekiel. The chorus is, ‘We will be your people and you our God’. The verses of the song beseech our Lord to give us hearts to love, bless, serve, praise and worship him.
The Christian life is full of mysteries and concepts that we have to hold in tension. The devotion yesterday reminded us of how precious we are individually to God. Today, the reading from Ezekiel reminds us that God equally views us as a collective body. We are all his people. And he is God to all of us.
I am either a member of Generation Y or a Millennial, depending on who you ask, and I hear that these generations are the most selfish ever. Yet the Bible shows us that selfishness is something that has plagued humanity from the very beginning. Why else did God need to give ten commandments to the nation of Israel, many of which are about looking out for others and discouraging human selfishness?
Our role, as members of God’s family, is to seek to have a heart like our Heavenly Father. Furthermore, we have a role to play in helping sisters and brothers in our community to be God’s people. To help them be people that bring glory to God. We need our sisters and brothers, too, to allow us to better love, bless, serve, praise and worship God.
Thank God that he called us to be in community and that he chose us all. We are better together than we are apart.
Lord, thank you for calling us out of the darkness as a community. Please help us to be your people as a community. Help us to love you and serve our sisters and brothers. Amen.