By Deanna Risser, VP for Finance
Scripture: Ezekiel 37:1-14 (NRSV)
A Lenten journey is often described as a time in the wilderness or desert. We are surrounded by the uncertainties of our lives but know we must trust in God and have confidence that what we are seeking is soon to come, the fulfillment of the prophecy, Jesus dying for our sins and rising from the dead. The passages today call us to put our faith and trust in God.
What are we waiting for? Will we find the answers we seek during this time in the wilderness? The Valley of the Dry Bones described in Ezekiel 37 provides us the ideal backdrop for examining how God will provide for us now and forever. We are asked to trust that God will bring us life and quench our thirsts, “I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord.” I am drawn to this in the midst of our own uncertain times. We are living through a global pandemic, unlike anything the world has experienced in over 100 years. It is easy to find despair or become downtrodden amongst the grave news, yet, just as God promised, “I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live.”
The health crisis facing our world comes to our national attention during Lent. I see this as a reminder that while we are waiting, longing, seeking and trusting in an unsettling time, we are much like the early followers of Jesus, who were also unsure of the future. It was through faith in God that they found the strength to persevere, to care for others and the knowledge that they would be brought out of this valley.
Psalm 130 provides the reassurance that the Lord has the power to redeem. I find hope in the passages today that we will navigate the present situation, for God promises “steadfast love” to provide us new life. Although current events are serious and require us to intentionally change our behaviors, we can find comfort in these passages as we wait for the resurrection of Jesus and work towards bringing health and hope to our world. Society and our modern lifestyle are presently changing, but we are not broken because of God’s life giving promises. We will rise from the valley of the dry bones, filled with the breath of life, and trust that God’s love will endure forever.
Scripture: Ezekiel 37:1-14 (NRSV)
The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. 3He said to me, Mortal, can these bones live? I answered, O Lord God, you know. 4Then he said to me, Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 5Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. 6I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord. 7So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them. 9Then he said to me, Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. 10I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude. 11Then he said to me, Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely. 12Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. 14I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act, says the Lord.