“The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” -Ezekiel 37:1-3
Looking out the window this morning, the rain overnight has melted away all the snow. The sun is shining and the day feels hopeful. That is not the scene Ezekiel looked out upon when God brought him to the valley of dry bones. It was a hopeless vision of war and death. A valley full of dry bones, which God then told Ezekiel to “prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!… I will make breath enter you and you will come to life.” 37:4-5 The bones came together and were attached by tendons and flesh and then Ezekiel prophesied to the breath and the bones came back to life. God then explained to Ezekiel that these bones are like the people of Israel who feel dead and already in the grave. God will bring them back to life. God will restore them to life and hope.
In our culture at the moment I’ve noticed a fascination with zombies. There are popular movies and television shows, video games, and even youth group activities with zombies. My suspicion as to why this is a popular idea of our time, is because many people feel like the walking dead, just moving through their lives and not actually living. How many of us feel like the dry bones to which Ezekiel prophesied? Whether we are in a numb state because of stress, grief, anxiety, disappointment or depression, we might feel like dry bones. This is not God’s plan for us. This is the place where God intervenes!
Our job, like Ezekiel, is to prophesy to the bones. Speak God’s truth to the place of despair and heartache. Remind them that God’s Spirit, God’s breath, brings new life once more. In order to accomplish this task, we have to look OUT. Not in the sense of defending ourselves or protection from something dangerous… but look OUT – to see outside ourselves and outside our friend circles and outside our families to where the people are hurting and bring Christ’s hope and peace to those places.
The chorus of Lauren Daigle’s song, “Come Alive” reminds us that God brings life from places of despair and death:
“As we call out to dry bones come alive, come alive
We call out to dead hearts come alive, come alive
Up out of the ashes let us see an army rise
We call out to dry bones, come alive”
Let’s call out to the dry bones together, “Come Alive!”
As a church, this past year we have done a great job of joining God in bringing life to hopeless places. Please join us this Sunday, Jan 26, for our Annual Congregational Meeting following the 11am worship service (at noon). We will enjoy the Boy Scouts Chili Feed fundraiser, followed by reports from our ministry teams in video and testimonies, to celebrate all God has done through you in 2019. Please bring a friend as we celebrate together God’s work here at Kennewick First Presbyterian. We may even have a special guest, “Ricardo” the Raffle Rooster… want to know more, ask one of our Midweek kids!
Christ, you took on human flesh, so that we might see and believe, so that we might live a life surrendered to ourselves and steadfast upon the salvation you bring. You took on flesh, and you entered this world, this community, this congregation, so that we might follow you in faithful paths of redemption. But, Lord, you know we fear what we do not know; we sit unwilling to follow you out. It is not that we don’t care about an outward focus of you in meeting the needs of a broken and fearful world crying out for salvation, but we get busy. We get overwhelmed by the weight of it all. Lord, fill us with your emboldened Spirit of courage and strength, so that we might be led out to join our living God. Make us the community you long for us to be: a beacon of light, a vessel of hope, a glimpse of eternal love for all people to witness. For we pray to the One who is fully God and fully human, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Warmly in Christ,
Rev. Hanna Peterson Shearer