Reading: Ezekiel 37:11-14
Verse 14: “I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land.”
Yesterday’s portion of Ezekiel 37 ended with a vast multitude standing where dry bones had once been. The wind, the breath, the Spirit – pneuma – had filled dead lungs and brought new life. This vision reminds us that God can and will bring new life, hope, restoration. As we too fill ourselves with the Spirit of God, we can once again stand on solid ground.
God explains the vision to Ezekiel and to us in verse 11. These dry bones represent “the whole house of Israel.” As a community of faith they have become dry and scattered, strewn out in the desert of exile. Their hope was gone. But God was not finished with them. I’ve heard it said a few times recently that death proceeds resurrection and new life. These are the overarching themes in this week’s readings. Sometimes, yes, the death is physical. At other times we die to self, surrendering our will to God’s ways. And sometimes the death is to a sin or behavior or prejudice that we bear. Each leads to new and abundant life.
In Ezekiel’s day the house of Israel was all who believed in God. It was not in a good place. Sometimes this is true of the church today. It has been this way from time to time since day 1. As I consider the thought of death and resurrection and new life, it feels like the church is in this cycle now. This is not a bad thing. God is in control. I trust that God is at work. We are right where God wants us to be for God’s plans and purposes. Can you see the dry bones? Can you sense the Spirit at work, bringing forth new life once again?
Prayer: Lord God, at times the church feels battered and broken. It can feel like a bad wreck now and then. Yet your Spirit is alive and well, moving in and through us, drawing us all to a new thing, to new life. That will look different. That is good. In the midst, Lord sustain us in the valley, fill us with new life, and lead us out into what you have planned for your church. Amen.