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Easter 7



Each of the principal service readings for today are wonderfully rich and we could spend hours reflecting upon each one, but for our 5 minutes together today I wanted to look at the prophecies of Ezekiel and John. And I want to linger on the idea of ‘hopeful expectation’.

Ezekiel speaks of the future promises of God towards Israel – they are words filled with hope and restoration and prosperity. In their context these hope-filled promises are entwined with the holistic vision of God’s judgment, in the sense of God’s governance, which we would be foolish to ignore. They are also rooted in this concept –‘It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name.’ God does not pronounce judgment or extend hopeful expectations to people like a cat toying with its prey, rather God is primarily invested in our situation because it reflects his character and nature.

And so, for the sake of his holy name, God promises to regather his scattered people and restore them to the promised land, he promises to cleanse them from their iniquities, he promises to give them hearts of flesh, and he promises to put a new spirit within them that they will observe the ways of their Lord. God’s people receive the benefits of his grace that you and I may embody those words in the prayer Jesus taught us, ‘Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.’ God has made a way for us to not just utter these words but bring them about through the way we live.

Then we leap forward to the very last chapter of the very last book of the Bible. The closing words of John’s revelation. You may notice that the lectionary chooses to cut out verses 15, 18 and 19 (which is ironic when you read verse 19!) – verses that speak of judgment, so we are left with a comfortable but incomplete picture of God’s prophecy. Like Ezekiel, the hopeful expectation of God’s promises is entwined with the theme of God’s judgment. It is foolish to try and separate them. Notice in the words of these verses that this again is God’s initiative – our reward is with Jesus, Jesus is the beginning and the end, the first and the last – it is God who has orchestrated the whole story in which we find ourselves. Similar to Ezekiel’s prophecy it is those of us who are adorned with washed robes – those who are dressed in the wedding clothes – who live hopefully and expectantly in the grace of God in Christ.

You and I today are called to lean into the hopeful expectation we have in Jesus – to rest in the reassuring of Jesus’ words, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ And to respond in faith, ‘Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!’

But we cannot forget the seriousness of our calling. Our hope is embedded in the wider vision of God’s final judgment over sin and death. As those healed, transformed, and liberated by the cross of Christ, we are called to live sacrificially and in obedience to his Word through the active grace of God in our lives.

Neither can we forget that this is all about Him. It is easy for us to centre ourselves in this story, but like these two passages remind us, all this is for the sake of his holy name, the one who is Alpha and Omega.

And finally, we cannot forget our commission as the church which is to share that wonderful Gospel invitation, that our family, friends, and neighbours may hear the good news, ‘Let everyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who wishes to take the water of life as a gift’ This is the hopeful expectation that shapes our faith and our mission.



  1. Do you live with a sense of joyful expectation because of the promises of God?
  2. Do you find yourself caught up in the great story of God?
  3. What to you think we are missing when we try and extract the concept of judgment from the story of hope?
  4. Who are the people in your life God is calling you to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with?
Page last updated: Wednesday 18th May 2022 1:01 PM
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