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Ezekiel 36:26 – A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you, and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.


In like a lion and out like a lamb. Each year as the month of March begins, my mind returns to the descriptions from my early school days. This year is no different as I listen to the howl just outside my window. Warm spring breezes may be just around the corner in lamb-like fashion; but for today, the roar is more like that lion.

I do love springtime. Flowering trees surround me, and new growth is peeking out from the earth everywhere I look. Jonquils and forsythia dot the landscape with bright yellow; redbuds and Bradford Pears bloom with soft pinks and bright whites. Even though the pear petals gently waft onto my new grass like a blanket of freshly fallen snow, my heart is ready to leave behind the cold images in favor of spring warmth.

In my office window, I am enjoying the purple finch couple busy at work. They are seeking asylum from the unpredictable weather and appear eager to build a new home for their coming babies. I think I see the buds of dogwood blossoms just beginning to open in the distance.

In the midst of all this wonder, the springtime colors are joined by another hue of yellow. Gusts of lion-winds burst through the pines driving sheets of gold which swirl in the cool air before my entire world is coated in thick stickiness. My dark car is the first victim I notice followed by windowpanes and sidewalks. Eventually I will be amazed by the mounds of yellow spinning at the roadsides.

Victim may be an accurate description. This season of every year robs me of physical comfort. The allergy-driven thief causes my throat to itch and my head to ache. The constant pounding is so strong; I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that a tiny basketball team is holding dribbling drills in my sinuses. This is not the March Madness I’ve been hoping to enjoy.

When the Prophet Ezekiel shared God’s message with the Hebrew children, the immediate message was pounding the promise of renewal and freshness. Their actions time-and-again had moved them away from warmly worshiping the One True God in favor of cold idolatry. Poor decisions had stolen the joy of righteous spring living and replaced it with sinful wintry practices. The dark coating of their hearts had moved them away from God’s Law as they spoke thick and sticky blasphemy against God’s Holy Name.

The Israelites were like an allergy to God’s senses causing congestion and misery; and when God spoke through Ezekiel, the promise was much like a spring rain washing away the thick stickiness of sin. Through the prophet’s words, the people heard God’s strong-yet-gentle message: “You’ve done nothing to deserve my help, be sure of that. Nevertheless, I will act. I will sprinkle fresh water on you, and you will be clean again. I will restore you to the freshness of Spring.”

As I read today’s prescribed lesson (Ezekiel 36:22-32), I am reminded that God doesn’t tell the Hebrew children to forget all about their evil ways and abominable deeds. Rather, they are told to remember, to be ashamed and dismayed for their actions. I believe God doesn’t want me to brush off my past behaviors and walk away from them without another thought. I need to recognize my mistakes, truly repent for them, and turn back to God as my guide. During this Lenten season of repentance, may I spend my spring days exploring God’s promise of forgiveness and renewal. May I embrace God’s holiness as my disgrace goes OUT like a lion, and a mild spirit comes IN to me like a lamb.

March-ing along,
Pastor Beth


Forgiving God, give a new heart to me and put a new spirit within me. Help me to avoid condemnation of others, and remind me that you alone are my guide. May I please you with every breath as I live my days empowered as a lion and gentle as a lamb. Amen.

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