When have you felt like dry bones?
The valley of the dry bones in Ezekiel 37 resonates. This passage is often used as one of the readings during the Easter Vigil and then again on the Day of Pentecost when following the Revised Common Lectionary.
The prophet is taken by the Lord to the middle of a valley. The valley is full of dry bones. What follows is a dialogue between the prophet and the Lord. The Lord asks if these bones live? To which the prophet replies, “O Lord God, you know” (verse 3). As the narrative continues slowly but surely the dry bones are brought back to life with flesh and breath once more.
The truth of the matter is, we have all experienced ourselves feeling like the dry bones in the valley. There we lie in the heat, parched and without form. Perhaps such a time as this are the days or week leading up to vacation, or when we find ourselves without a job or “stuck” in employment that is unfulfilling, without inspiration.
At other times, when we do not feel like dry bones, we may find we relate to the Prophet. The one called to come and respond to what seems like an impossible and overwhelming situation. This is the time where the odds seem to be stacked against us, a new promotion at work or moving to a new town to start over can be such moments. Perhaps you know of one or two more.
In both circumstances, we do well to remember the context we commonly hear this particular passage, the Easter Vigil, and The Day of Pentecost. This is significant because both occasions remind us of Resurrection and the new life of Easter and the flames, energy, and passion of Pentecost. The end result of this passage is that the Prophet admirably completes the task; and the bones live and have breath.
In both circumstances the hand of God is there to guide and hold up the People of God when we feel like dry bones or a Prophet with an impossible task.