This site provides something different: many sites and books provide a brief summary of the reading – so that people read out or have in their pew sheet an outline of what they are about to hear. They are told beforehand what to expect. Does this not limit what they hear the Spirit address them? This site provides something different – often one cannot appreciate what is being read because there is no context provided. This site provides the context, the frame of the reading about to be heard. It could be used as an introduction, printed on a pew sheet (acknowledged, of course), or adapted in other ways.
The Passover ritual may originate in a spring fertility rite. Here it wards off the plague and this passage concludes by setting it as a perennial commemoration of the exodus. This, Abib or Nisan (from Bablyonian, hence in postexilic books), marks the first month. Elsewhere, the agricultural calendar commences with the seventh month. With the month commencing at new moon, the fourteenth is full moon.
Ezekiel returns to his theme of watchman (from 3:16-21). Those living within a walled city went out to work in the fields during the day, whilst the watchman on the walls scanned the horizon. If an enemy approached the watchman was to warn those in the fields. Both the watchman is required to be vigilant, and the people are required to heed the watchman’s call. In the Book of Common Prayer the bishop charges those to be ordained priests that they are to be “messengers, watchmen, and stewards of the Lord”.
Roman Catholics and those who use that version of the three year series are essentially back in sync this Sunday. Love in this cultural context is not an emotion – it places the value of the group above that of the individual, as Paul demonstrates by quoting Leviticus (interestingly without reference to Jesus’ reference to this).
The “you” of verse 18 is plural. This text addresses the opposite of our individualistic culture where the group is there to enhance the individual. The advice is to deal with conflict within the group – it is not advice addressed to dealing with those outside the group.