Ezekiel 9:1-7; 10:18-22; PS 113 The glory of the Lord is higher than the skies; Matt 18:15-20
Imagine being given the task to sort out amongst your fellow neighbors and citizens who was to be saved, kept alive, and who was to die?
This is exactly the job given to the man dressed in linen cloth in Ezekiel's vision. Here is the command, "pass through the city, through Jerusalem, and mark a "thau" on the foreheads of those who moan and groan over all the abominations that are practiced within it."
Those so marked would be saved from destruction.
The rest were all to be destroyed.
Would we belong to the group marked to be kept alive and saved? Do we moan and groan over the abominations practiced in our current milieu? Or do we just allow ourselves to be swept along the current of the times?
Do we lament what needs to be lamented?
Do we weep for the tragedy of sin and destruction that has befallen us?
The marking of the forehead with the sign is something we do for all those baptized in the faith. With the sign of the cross we are welcomed into the household of God, the christian community.
Perhaps, here through Ezekiel we can rediscover our mission and task as ones who bear the mark of salvation. We too must reject the evil impulses of the age and stand int he threshold between good and evil and stand fast.
What is the proper sequence in a practical sense of standing against the evil of the age?
Jesus gives us the recipe in the gospel: "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. If he doesn't listen, take one or two along so that the fact may be established on the testimony of two or three. IF he refuses to listen to them, tell the church If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat as you would a tax collector and gentile..."
Interesting sequence of response.
The offended is directed to speak to the offender, privately. Then witness are brought forth in a private fashion so the facts can be established. Then the whole community should be involved, that is the church, the community of believers gathered together around the authority given to Peter way back in Matt 16:18.
I wonder how much heartache and division could be avoided if the above sequence would be followed.
Rather than broadcasting everyone's dirty laundry over Facebook, twitter, news, TMZ and the like.
A little more privacy, a little more caution just might create a little more harmony.
So just a few things to remember. Sins matter. We have to throw out the notion that sins are no body else's business. In fact they are the business of the community. There is no "mind your own business" clause. In regards to the health and welfare of the community, your business and my business is our business is everyone's business.
Secondly, we need to be up front when dealing with others. Don't broadcast it, deal with it. Only then can honor truly be experienced for all involved.