All things green
And all the trees of the field shall know that I, the LORD, bring low the high tree, lift high the lowly tree, wither up the green tree, and make the withered tree bloom. As I, the LORD, have spoken, so will I do.
Ezekiel the Prophet was called at a difficult time in Israel’s history. Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian ruler, had besieged Jerusalem, carried off its king as well as the members of the upper class, including Ezekiel the priest. He appointed a puppet king, Zedekiah, for Israel. Jerusalem ends up destroyed. In reflecting back on all this, and all the bad news he had to deliver, Ezekiel writes about hope and restoration.
There were many strong nations and powers, likened to high, strong, green trees. Israel was withered, barely living. Yet the Lord had (and has) the power to lift up the lowly tree, to make it green and alive again, to make it the most powerful and beautiful tree and to make those formerly powerful wither away.
Jesus is the fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecy. He is the restoration that came to be by God’s grace – to make all things green and new. Jesus’ coming is the culminating moment of reassurance for us. Our God is the God of new life, of the green time – the keeper of promises. He is our hope and the bringer of renewal.
How appropriate then to read of God’s strengthening, renewing, and greening of the withered tree as we enter into a new Church season this Sunday. This season of green will last through the end of November. It has been variously referred to as the ‘Time After Pentecost,’ the ‘Green Time,’ or ‘Ordinary Time.’
These green days are so important for us. Like Ezekiel, we have been born into a time of difficulty and challenge. Sometimes it is hard for us to see any possibility for renewal. Let us take this season – June through November – to recommit to our God Who is the God of renewal and new life. Let us recognize that we, like Ezekiel, are called to offer God’s way to the world.
By uniting ourselves to Jesus, first through baptism, then in each moment of our lives, we partake and share in God’s life. God, who can bring greenness out of the withered tree will take whatever is broken and hurtful, whatever is withered in us, will make it new, green, and alive. Hear God’s promise recounted in the 92nd Psalm: The just man shall flourish like the palm tree, like a cedar of Lebanon shall he grow. They that are planted in the house of the Lord, shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall bear fruit even in old age; vigorous and sturdy shall they be. We who follow the Lord will flourish and be green once again.