Sermon – Ezekiel 37 – Madelynn Marlow
April 2nd, 2020 | Josh Williams
For the fifth week of Lent Madelynn Marlow shared from Ezekiel 37. She encouraged us to remember God’s healing, life giving presence among us even when things feel dry and lifeless, like the valley of dry bones.
Scripture and quotes:
37 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. 2 He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. 3 He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” 4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. 6 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.”
7 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. 8 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. 9 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,[d] and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” 10 I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.
11 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.’ 12 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. 13 And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. 14 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.”
“For a sane culture to take hold and prosper, there needs to be more than just an emphasis on the individual and individual achievement. There also needs to be an equal emphasis on cooperation, and on the collective good. Indeed, in building culture, one good place to start is by letting go of a focus on oneself, and re-centering the focus on benefitting one’s fellow human beings.” –Resmaa Menaken
“I am finding faith by listening to those asking us to return to our biblical roots: to continue to press into the rituals that sustain us while upending our lives in order to prioritize the vulnerable. Today that means being grateful for services held over phones, for the chance to connect without causing harm, and listening to the voices who have long been the canaries in our unequal coal mine. As the next long weeks of isolation stretch out, I can rest knowing we are all in this together, and that as a Christian, slowing the spread of suffering and prioritizing the needs of the community over my own is a part of my tradition of faithfulness.” –D.L. Mayfield