Let yourself become open to God and the knowledge that comes from the Word. Ask God for peace at this time.
Ezekiel 37:1-14 New Revised Standard Version (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. He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. 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.”
So 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. I 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. Then 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.” I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.
Then 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.’ Therefore 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. And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. I 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.”
This passage is rather special for me because it was a foundational text for my doctoral work. My working thought about the Church is that the Church is full of dead bones. It seems like low hanging fruit to say that. I know that I sound like one of those preachers that are never happy. I include myself when I say this, but it is true that the American Church is spiritually weak.
We are a church that is passionate about faith, but not church attendance, we are passionate about God’s grace, but not holiness, we are passionate about God’s love and care for us, but not too passionate about giving (financially or with time) to the work of the Church.
And, I should say that I am probably not talking about you. You are getting on this website to read a devotion written by fellow believers. Chances are you are a volunteer, or an elder, or someone who gives at a good clip to their Church.
This vision given to Ezekiel was about Israel–the people of God and their deadness, but God breathes life into the people, and they stand as a vast multitude. I feel that vision for the Church, again, I humbly acknowledge that it begins with me. I ask you to join with me in praying that God would do now, what God has done before, to breathe life into the dead souls of the Church and raise up a vast multitude of people seeking God, seeking the betterment of the world, shining as light in the darkness.
God of life, breathe life into us. Give us your Spirit that we may live, and love what you love, and do what you would have us do. Raise up a vast multitude, including me, to be passionate about life. Amen
Go with God!