Pentecost Sunday celebrates the birth of the church. The Disciples had been huddled together behind locked doors out of fear their fate would be the same as Jesus’. Then it happened! A rushing mighty wind filled them with life and courage. They went outside and testified publicly and boldly about Jesus and God’s might with absolutely no fear. Today’s text for this Pentecost Sunday is different. Why? Sometimes that which once thrived needs a rebirth. Windermere Union Church, can these dry bones live?
- Why the Valley of Dry Bones?
- The story of Ezekiel and Israel
- The Babylonians not only destroyed their country but, they also destroyed their hope.
- Psalm 137 gives voice to their agony: "By the rivers of Babylon -- there we sat down and there we wept when we remembered Zion ... How could we sing the LORD's song in a foreign land?" (vv. 1, 4). Ezekiel 37:11b also reflects their anguish: "Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely" (Tanakh: "[we are] doomed"; NJB: "done for"; NLT: "finished").
- They were dry bleached bones. Life was no where near those bones!
- Ezekiel, can these bones live? How should I know? The prophet seems to have also lost all hope.
- So Ezekiel prophesied to the bones (v. 7), and there was a rattling (ra'ash in Hebrew; NRSV translates it as "rumbling" in Ezekiel 3:12 and "shaking" in 38:19; the LXX Greek translates 37:7 as seismoV, a violent shaking, commotion or earthquake).
- So the bones from the separated skeletons came clanking together, properly linking "bone to its bone," along with correctly attached muscle tissue and skin. But the bodies were still lifeless -- "there was no breath in them.”
- The Breath of Life comes from God.
- And Ezekiel prophesied, and "the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude" (v. 10). See Genesis 2:7. From its Latin root, "inspire" is to draw in breath; it is related to "spirit." "Breathe on Me, Breath of God."
- "A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you .... [Y]ou shall be my people, and I will be your God" (vv. 26a, 28b -- this is covenant language, as in Ezekiel 37:23, 27.
- That’s why God gives life to the bones: so that they will know that God is God.
- That’s why God brings the people of Israel to their homeland: so that they will know that God will act.
- That’s why God gives a child to senior citizens named Abraham and Sarah: so that they will know that nothing is too wonderful for the Lord (Genesis 18:14).
- That’s why God gives a son to a virgin named Mary: so that she will know that nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37).
- That’s why God fills us with his life-giving Spirit: so that we will know that God is alive and well and active — right here, right now.
- Looking for the rebirth of WUC.
- Breath of Life
- Windermere Union Church Can These Dry Bone Live?
Call to Celebration
God of Infinite Wisdom, you understand our many languages.
When we cannot clearly articulate our verbiage, you understand our needs.
There are no boundaries in the words you speak.
Your message of love is explicitly expressed.
When we become one, our message spreads like a wildfire.
We see you and hear you profoundly in the breaking of bread.
The Spirit fills us anew.
Love is a captivating power that heals all things. Amen
O Great Love, you speak a pure love language. It’s spoken and expressed in a variety of ways. Your presence empowers us to do wonderful things. In this season of Pentecost, may the gifts we bring provide healing and truth that all of humanity is worthy of abundant life. Amen
Full Service Service May 23rd
Ezekiel 37:1-14 NIV
The Valley of Dry Bones
37 The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”
4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5 This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath[a] enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”
7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.
9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.
11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’”