Submitted by Jan on Tue, 19/05/2015 – 12:16
Year B (2014-2015)
Bible Book: Ezekiel / Esegiel
Verse: 1 – 14
Ezekiel 37:10 “I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.”
When Ezekiel was shown the valley of dry bones, no doubt he only saw signs of death. God asks Ezekiel whether the bones can live. Ezekiel answers that God knows. With that acknowledgement – that God knows whether the bones can live – the action begins. Ezekiel is told to speak words of life to these bones, to proclaim to them that God will renew them and that they will live. When Ezekiel acts as God has commanded, and speaks words of life to the bones, the truth is revealed. The truth that is revealed is that God’s power for life, when trusted and proclaimed, is stronger than any power for death. Ezekiel, it seems, had to make a decision. Would he see the valley of dry bones as a definitive demonstration of the power of death, or would he see it as an awesome opportunity for the power of life? Ezekiel had to choose. Would he believe enough in God’s power and intention for life that he would speak and act, or would he see the bones as hopeless, God-forsaken, and lost? He chose to trust, to speak, to see. “…and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude” (Ezek. 37:10b).
So much, it seems, depends on how we see the valleys of dry bones in our world. If we see them as hopeless and lost, then dry bones they will remain. But if, trusting in the power and presence of God, we see them as places to speak words of life, and experience God’s Spirit, they are filled with possibility.
I recently spoke with a person living with HIV, who said that many of those around him had been seeing him as if he were already dead. Because of their fears and their misunderstandings about HIV and AIDS, all they could see in this person was a valley of dry bones. But this man knows what Ezekiel knew. He knows that God is the one who knows whether and when life is possible, and that God is a God of life. So, the man told me, even though many around him saw only death, because of his faith and knowledge, he saw the promise of life. He spoke – telling those around him he saw life and strength in his future. He acted – making important health and nutrition decisions and taking his medications. As his body responded, and his CD4 count increased, he gained much-needed weight, he became stronger, and he lived and stood on his feet. His hopeful response to his situation revealed the truth – the truth that there could be life and strength in his future. Now he is a living testimony to others around him that his HIV status does not render him lifeless, as if he were a forsaken valley of dry bones. His very hopeful presence in the midst of his community reveals the truth: He is living; living with HIV. So much depends on how we see those around us. If we see people with possibility and promise, we will see the truth of the presence and power of God in their lives and in ours. But if we see only death and loss, we will miss so much. I am thankful that God’s Spirit, moving in powerful and surprising ways, reveals the truth that life and hope are present, even in the midst of what might seem like death and despair. When we see this, speak it, and share it, lives and communities will change, and we will live, and stand on our feet, a great multitude.
To think about: What situations seem hopeless to you, like a valley of dry bones? What would it mean to consider the potential for new life and strength through the presence of God’s Spirit, shared in communities of faith and solidarity?
Written by: Dr. Jeff Moore, St. Louis, Missouri, USA. – Trained ‘Churches, Channel of Hope’ Facilitator.
Author: Moore J (Dr)