Ezekiel 37:4-6

Monday, March 27
Sadie Berg & Paulette Reddel
Confirmand & Mentor

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 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.”

“Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones
Hear the word of the Lord

It’s hard to read today’s text without humming a few lines from the spiritual “Dem Bones” composed by brothers James Weldon Johnson and J. Rosamond Johnson in the early 1920s. (Click here to hear the original!) The brothers, inspired by the prophet Ezekiel’s story, wrote lyrics to highlight his message.

A valley of bones scattered haphazardly onto dry, barren earth does not sound like a pleasant place to visit. But in a vision, Ezekiel, already living under Babylonian captivity, is instructed by God to go to that very place. No, not to participate in an archaeological dig searching for dinosaur bones, but to speak directly to them.

As Ezekiel enters the valley of bones, he announces God’s intent: “I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.” (Ezekiel 37:5-6)

God does not leave those bones languishing, but as the emerging skeletons fill with the breath of life, God covers them with muscles, tissues, and finally with skin. They are whole. The valley of bones is alive with God’s beautiful handiwork! The house of Israel has not been forsaken.

Injustice and suffering continue to enter our world. Victims of violence in neighborhoods or war-torn Ukraine cry out to God. Help! The valley of bones is a very lonely place to be.

But like Ezekiel, we must be part of delivering God’s message of hope. That happens when we find opportunities such as serving at Harmony Church’s food pantry, teaching in evening tutoring sessions, helping refugee families resettle in Chicago, volunteering at Beyond Hunger food pantry in Oak Park, or providing legal aid to formerly incarcerated individuals. Together we try to “open the windows” letting God’s spirit flow freely.

“Dem bones, dem bones, gonna walk around
Hear the word of the Lord.”

Dear God, help us to fulfill the words of God like Ezekiel did, and bring hope to people who are in need in any way we can. Amen     

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