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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Friday, May 17, 2019              

Today’s Scripture Reading | Ezekiel 37:1–14

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. He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord.” So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude. Then he said to me, “Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.’ Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act,” says the Lord. (NRSV)

In the book of Genesis we read that “the Lord God formed the human from the topsoil of the fertile land and blew life’s breath into his nostrils. The human came to life.” (Genesis 2:7, CEB) Then here again, in Ezekiel, we read that God said through the prophet, “I will put my breath in you, and you will live” (Ezekiel 37:14, CEB).

In Genesis, God is creating the first human out of the rich, fertile soil of creation, and in Ezekiel God is reviving the dry bones of people who have lost all hope. At all times and in all places, it is God’s spirit, God’s breath that fills us with life and vitality and hope. There is no place we can go where God cannot find us. There is no time that we are alone when God is not with us. God is always with us, breathing our breath for us, breathing God’s own spirit through us.

This is a beautiful meditation, a spiritual practice that we can do. Close your eyes and take a big breath, telling yourself, “This is God’s spirit of life entering me through my nostrils. As I breathe out, despair, fear, hopelessness leaves me.”

“As I breathe in, God’s life, God’s love, God’s healing pours into me. As I breathe out, I relax and make space for God’s spirit in me.” In our breathing in and breathing out, God is with us.

God of love, I welcome your breath of life into my body and my spirit. Fill me with peace and quiet strength. Heal my body and soul with your love. Amen.

Written by Nanette Sawyer, Associate Pastor for Discipleship and Small Group Ministry

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