Reading: Ezekiel 37:1-10
Verse 6: “I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.”
We begin this week with one of my favorite passages. The valley of dry bones is symbolic. Israel is in exile in Babylon. Ezekiel is a priest of the Lord, also living in exile. In this foreign land, hope had dwindled away; their faith had become dry. I love this passage because we all get to this place now and then in life. We can have a hard time clinging to hope and to God when we find ourselves too long in the valley.
This valley full of bones that Ezekiel finds himself in is extreme – there were “a great many bones” and they were all “very dry.” They had been there a long time. The time in exile had been long. God asks Ezekiel, “Son of man, can these bones live?” Ezekiel does not judge by what he sees. He chooses instead to be open to the possibility of what God is seeing. He acknowledges that God alone knows. Ezekiel trusts into this.
In those moments when we are in the valley, when we are wondering if there can be life after “this” – may we too try to see as God sees. May we too seek to see into the possibilities of what God might be up to. May we too remember to trust into God, even though our faith may feel dry.
Yes, God can bring life. God directs Ezekiel to prophesy to the bones. He does and the bones come together and are covered in tendons and flesh. Then God directs Ezekiel to call for breath to enter them. As the breath of God, the Spirit, enters these corpses, they rise and stand, “a vast army.” God brings life, even to that which is dry and without hope. May we cling to this hope and to these promises: God brings life, God restores, God makes a way in the valley. Thanks be to God!
Prayer: Lord God, what good news! No matter how dry and far away we feel, you can always restore and give new life. What great news! In times or seasons in the valley, O God, remind us of these dry bones that came to life. Amen.