From the OT Lesson for Friday in the week of Easter 6
1 He said to me, O mortal, eat what is offered to you; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel. 2 So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat. 3 He said to me, Mortal, eat this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it. Then I ate it; and in my mouth it was as sweet as honey.
One of my favorite collects in the Book of Common Prayer is that for Proper 28 which begins, “Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them . . . .” I wonder if the idea of “inwardly digesting” the words of Holy Writ came from Ezekiel’s metaphor of eating the scroll. It’s such a great visualization of the way in which the spiritual and moral learnings of our religious tradition should become a part not merely of our intellectual baggage but of our very selves. It reminds one not only of the old shibboleth, “You are what you eat,” but of the wonderful words of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer’s eucharistic exhortation and prayer of humble access in the first prayer book of 1552, now preserved in the canon of Rite I of the current American prayer book, that we “may worthily receive the most precious Body and Blood of thy Son Jesus Christ, be filled with thy grace and heavenly benediction, and made one body with him, that he may dwell in us, and we in him.” (BCP 1979, page 336) The image is visceral and compelling, that the words of Scripture, and the very Word of God, should be digested and become “flesh of our flesh,” part of who we are, not simply part of what we believe.