LENT 5 THE VALLEY OF DRY BONES. .EZEKIEL 37:1-14
Here we are thinking about a passage of the Old Testament called The Valley of Dry Bones, a place devoid of life, a silent world of no human voices, a nightmarish place where hope seems not to exist.
We read this as most of us are reeling from finding the world has changed overnight into a place dominated by the virus COVID19. We keep behind closed doors for fear of catching this vicious killer virus, social life has ceased,schools are closed, businesses closed and employment seems a thing of the past. And yet the human spirit continues to strive to keep connections alive, to dare to hope and to love. I am reminded of the saying ” the mother of all invention, is human need.” Many of us are calling on the Holy Spirit of God to renew us, refresh us, and set us on our feet again. We, who form the Church of God are beginning to find a fresh resurgence of faith, that dynamic spiritual quality that brings courage into every anxious heart, that prevents us keeping our focus on the problem and opens us to all the opportunities and possibilities of the answer. Faith can connect us one to another, in new ways. Yes, we cannot meet in church buildings at this time but we can draw on modern technology to keep us connected; we learn a fresh dynamic of God’s Spirit through prayer and find the scriptures come alive in new ways as we read that history records other times in the human life-time when others had similar difficulties and overcome them.
As we view world events unfolding, as the pandemic spreads, we remain shut in our homes and can be forgiven for fearing we have lost control of our life.If this is you, know that God sees our plight and is offering ways of lifting us up, providing peace, giving us strength. God is helping us wait, not wait to see who lives and who dies but wait until we can proclaim the Lord’s power of healing and love amidst all the noise of fear and chaos. He wishes us to reach out to one another as many are doing. Only very recently I have heard over and over the words ” we must think of others”. Many around the world are finding new ways to say thank you to those medical teams, that are caring for the very ill; helping isolated friends and strangers by delivering groceries and medications.It is as though the heart of our world is rediscovering how to share its love with neighbors.
Around 600 years before Christ was born the Babylonians captured Jerusalem and took over the land of Israel. Jews were overcome by oppression like a virus seeping through every layer of their homeland. Unable to practice their religion in the temple, people found new ways to keep their faith alive just as we do today. The valley God shows to Ezekiel was probably one of many where the Israelite’s battled their enemy. Life as captives brought desolation and fear. By the time Ezekiel came on the scene, these battles were long past and all that remained were the dry dead bones of the fallen. Today we should not fear the virus so much as our own emotional and spiritual health.
We are still in the season of Lent, that time for Christians to re-evaluate their lives, take stock of where their hearts focus.We have the time now to develop our courage and strength and call on God to guide us along new pathways into healthy habits of faith and trust. God shows Ezekiel that He alone has the power to raise up not only the desolate but also the dead. There is no shame in feeling anxious or even hopeless at this grave time, but do not allow yourself to stay in that state too long. Faith in our God can reconstitute us even in the aftermath of terrible adversity. When God breathes upon what the world sees as dry and dead, the Church see a new revitalized life rising up. The dry bones became a skeleton and then God adds the flesh and new life so that once dead valley, is full of life again. Our God is a God of resurrection, He has overcome the final death and made everything new!
Dear ones, arise shake off your slumber and trust in your Lord God Almighty! Rise up from your fears and hopelessness and share with us in proclaiming the future of health, love and life.
“Abide with me, fast falls the even tide, the darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide, When others fail and comforts flee, Help of the helpless, O, abide with me.”
Thank you, Lord Christ, for inviting me to come to you to find my home. Be present with me on the path of life to comfort and restore me.As I lay down my burdens of my own making, I take your yoke upon me and seek to learn from you how to live. AMEN