By Pastor Pam Seebach
Harmony, Mabel, and Newburg United Methodist Churches
We had dry bones, didn’t we? For weeks on end, we saw no rain, felt no moisture, dragged about in the heat. Hope fizzled for a good crop. Our very bones were dried up and lifeless. God knows what this lack of hope does to us. God spoke through the prophet Ezekiel to give many messages to the People Israel. In Chapter 37 of Ezekiel, we find the account of Ezekiel’s experience in the valley of dry bones.
Israel had been conquered by the Babylonians, and most of the leadership and people of power were exiled to Babylon. There, they struggled to maintain their faith in a God who seemed very distant and unfeeling. Their 70 years of exile must have felt much like our summer of no rain. Where is God? Does God care?
Then, the word came from God that Ezekiel should prophesy to the bones that God “will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Really? Ezekiel must have wondered, but he did as God instructed. The bones came together; sinews appeared on the bones; flesh covered the sinews and bones… but still no sign of life. Then God told Ezekiel, “Prophesy to the breath… say to it… ‘Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” Ezekiel did this, too, just as God instructed. The bones came to life and there stood a great company of people – Israel.
The symbolism here is that the dry bones represent the hopeless Israel; the living bones/people represent the people of Israel filled anew with hope and love for God. Many situations in our lives can cause us to feel dry, dead, or hopeless – we’ve all been through these challenging times. But, when we feel dried up and hopeless, we need to look to God for refreshment. Just as God breathed new life into the People Israel, and just as the rain recently returned our lawns and fields from brown to green, our hearts will unfurl from dry and curled inward to hope-filled and lush. Call out to God: with God, all things are possible.