February 16, 2024 - 8:00am

Lenten Meditation: February 16, 2024

Lenten Meditation: February 16, 2024

Daily Scripture Passage: Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32

Yet you say, “The way of the Lord is unfair.” Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way unfair? Is it not your ways that are unfair?” — Ezekiel 18:25

Ezekiel asks us to consider a false proverb: “the parents have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge”—a way of saying, children pay the consequences of their parent’s actions. You may be remembering those who questioned Jesus in John’s gospel—“who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Across the centuries, God’s answer is the same: we are accountable to our own choices, and our own actions. Sin (and blame) is not hereditary.

Yet I find myself thinking about systemic injustice, like the after-effects of slavery and Jim Crow, or the economic devastation of whole towns and neighborhoods in the wake of company business decisions to shut down factories.

Momentarily satisfied that I had poked a hole in divine logic, then it hit me: I was actually thinking of current human callousness, choices that have been doubled down on over decades, or perpetuated by our own hesitancy to upset the status quo. And across the centuries, again, God echoes back to me: is my way unfair? Is it not your ways that are unfair? Too often, we want to blame “the sins of our fathers” for what is being done right now.

Ezekiel calls us to repentance, to turn away from transgression, and we should consider ways both large and small. How do we lift our voices to our politicians and other leaders, to stop them feeding our communities sour grapes under the guise of a full meal? And in our own lives, do we ever try to shift the consequences of our own failings on to others? Perhaps our own forgetfulness, our own mismanagement, or our own failure to adequately plan? This Lent, how can we claim our own sins, and set about repenting them?

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