“Nothing is too dead for God.” That was a refrain in our pastor’s sermon as she addressed Ezekiel 37, Sunday’s text in the narrative lectionary. The prophet Ezekiel envisioned a valley of human bones of the people of God taken into captivity, who had lost their faith. God tells Ezekiel to prophesy to the bones, telling them to join back together, to put meat on, and finally for the winds to breathe into the bodies, bringing them back to life.
Pastor challenged us to recognize the dry bones in our lives as we participate in Advent. What things keep us from rising up with vigor and praise as the people of God?
Here are some of my responses:
- Hopelessness about being able to do enough. Faith communities in Anchorage donated turkeys and all the trimmings to make Thanksgiving food boxes for the poor, enough for ten thousand families. Recipients will be hungry again soon. Our donations did not solve problems of joblessness or low-income jobs that do not pay enough to afford both housing and food. They don’t increase the number of apartments and homes affordable by the poor or available to the disabled.
- A sense of loss. Several key members of our congregation have moved to warmer climates this year. Once active members have succumbed to infirmity or death. Younger, physically vigorous members aren’t available to help with chores that need to be done. Who can climb the ladder to put up the large Christmas tree to make the church look festive for the celebration of Jesus’ birth?
- Self-centeredness. As the radio just said in a report about charitable giving, most of us give out our abundance, our extra that we don’t really need. I often do not give without being asked, do not give until my own needs have been taken care of.
I/we must remember and act on Pastor Julia’s refrain: “Nothing is too dead for God.” Come into our thoughts and lives, Lord, and bring new life to our ministries. What are some of the dry bones you recognize during this Advent season? Where can God’s Spirit rebuild your body and mind?
Phyllis Rude, of Anchorage, Alaska, serves on the churchwide executive board.
Photo by Geoff Bosco. Used with permission.