The young prophet stirs, wakes, blinks as it hits him once more. This is not home. Not that safe space he is used to, ‘familiar’ is no more. Events have overtaken them and every goalpost has moved. Somewhere in the background a mother is awake already, nursing her baby. Singing a morning lullaby. That song so many sing at the moment. ‘By the river we sat, we crouched and moaned, what song shall we sing, so far from home?’ He splashes water on his face, even the water here seems sub-standard. Everything’s wrong. He wishes he could resurrect the past. Click his fingers and make it all okay again. He walks outside, nods at the mother and her baby. Nearby women fetch water, men mutter and grumble. No one seems that happy. Except the children with their penchant for adjustment and their ability to live in the now, whatever the now should look like. Everyone else is burdened by the shock of this new normal. Bent over a little, bearing their loss like gloomy sacks of dead plants. They aren’t ill-treated here, but that’s not the point. They had a framework, for life, purpose, meaning and faith. Now it’s been washed away like a house of cards in a hurricane.
The prophet walks down to the river. Stares at the ever-changing flurry of water. Restless, never still. And that’s where he hears the sound. The rattle of divine thunder, the flash of celestial lightning. Every fibre of his being jolts at the shock of the glory. The kavod. The presence. Something he never expected to find in this forsaken zone, this barren place. Yahweh has arrived. Against the odds. In this strange time, in this wilderness place. In this odd version of normal. It’s terrifying, unnerving… and yet… and yet… heart-warming. And the longer he stands there, and the closer the vision, the more the terror fades into affirmation. Holy yet hopeful.God is here! Not bound by tradition or the previous way of doing things. But willing to travel, to adjust, to speak a new dialect.
Psalm 137 and Ezekiel 1