The Sin of the Remnant and Ezra’s Prayer of Confession

Text: Ezra 9:1-15

Reflection and Question: Here is one of the passages in the Bible that reinforces bigotry by naming other peoples as unclean abominations. Ezra confesses the sin of the people through intermarriage with tribes who do not worship the God of Israel. In contrast, books like Ruth and Jonah and Galatians witness to the precious value of other nations. When sections of Holy Scripture are in conflict, I try to see through to the Truth behind the paradox of both being God’s Word. We embrace diversity now — and yet his confession can be our cry as well. What rings true for you in Ezra’s prayer?

Prayer: Oh God, I am too ashamed and embarrassed to lift my face to You, my God, for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has mounted up to the heavens. Have mercy on us, O God, have mercy. We pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

This meditation is based on the Daily Lectionary Year 1 from the Book of Common Worship for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (1993).