This week in worship, in place of a traditional sermon, our worship leaders engaged in the practice of havruta (learning in pairs). The text that was discussed was Ezekiel 37:1-14.
The LORD’s power overcame me, and while I was in the LORD’s spirit, he led me out and set me down in the middle of a certain valley. It was full of bones. He led me through them all around, and I saw that there were a great many of them on the valley floor, and they were very dry.
He asked me, “Human one, can these bones live again?”
I said, “LORD God, only you know.”
He said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, Dry bones, hear the LORD’s word!” “The LORD God proclaims to these bones: I am about to put breath in you, and you will live again.” “I will put sinews on you, place flesh on you, and cover you with skin. When I put breath in you, and you come to life, you will know that I am the LORD.”Ezekiel 37:1-6, CEB
It was noted that our present situation, with all of its restrictions and constant reminders of illness and even death, feels a bit like being in the valley of the dry bones. We wonder, when will this pandemic end, life return to normal, and the dry bones again have the breath of life. It’s not lost on me that the concept of breath plays so prominently in this passage, as we read stories of people having the very breath constricted from their lungs. It’s also not lost that a passage in the book of a prophet seems, well, prophetic in context of world events.
As we hope for the breath of life to once again come to our world, it was noted that the breath of God that comes to fill us may well be different than what we were expecting. We may find ourselves facing a new reality, when all this is over.