Weekly Devotion for March 13, 2023

The hand of the LORD came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. The LORD led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. The LORD said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord, God, you know.” (Ezekiel 37:1-3)

The story continues with conversation by conversation between Ezekiel and God, and prophecy by prophecy from Ezekiel to the dry bones. The bones knit together with sinew and muscle and skin. Finally, the winds of the spirit blew through them – and then, miracle of miracles, they lived, a vast multitude.
This is a story of being devastatingly lost – led to a valley of dry bones. Who needs dry bones in their lives, let alone a whole valley of them? What’s the use? Who cares about old dry bones? What the heck can be done with a whole valley of dried out bones?
God calls out, “Can these bones live?” I don’t know if Ezekiel is being humble or sarcastic in his response, “O Lord, God, you know.” How foolish Ezekiel must have felt preaching and prophesying to those useless, dead, dry bones. How astonishing and puzzling it must have been to have them come together and, finally, to be energized, enfleshed, and en-spirited with breath and life. The metaphor of the valley of dry bones demonstrated to Ezekiel that, he could lead and prophesy, with God’s spirit, and through that, Israel could come alive again.
In your life, where do you feel devastatingly lost? What is a valley of dry bones for you at this time? Can you stand with God and prophesy, as foolish and lost as you feel, and allow the spirit to blow new life into those dry-bone places in your life?
As our United Methodist Church is lost in the dry-bone-filled valley of disaffiliations, can these bones live? God knows. Our task is to listen to God’s question, then to prophesy, to remain present with God, to feel lost and foolish and to continue to speak and live into wherever God is blowing spirit into our church and our lives. “Mortals,” God asks us, “Can these bones live?” And we know that God knows and is with us through the dry valley and the coming together again, and the blowing winds of the spirit into new life. Yes. God knows.
God of mystery and miracles, we bring our lives, our hearts, our fears, our lost-ness, our dry bones to you. Help us to follow you, to listen for your guidance in our ministries and work, so that we can live fully as your disciples and become the faithful, lively, enfleshed, en-spirited people you call us to be. In the name of Christ we pray. Amen.