Second Sunday of Advent

Good morning all!  Happy Second Sunday of Advent!

Today’s scripture: Ezekiel 37:1-10 (NRSV)                                                                                                                                     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 breathto 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.

 

Today’s scripture is about hope and peace in the midst of exile and devastation.  We have talked quite a bit about exile.  Ezekiel is in the midst of it.  He was exiled in that first wave I talked about out of Jerusalem into Babylon.  This comes a bit later when the second wave of exile hits and the people really feel as though they have hit bottom.  This is when the prophet starts to see visions with God (meaning God shows up) and they are visions of hope and new life.

 

I don’t want to talk too much here (don’t want to give my sermon away) but there are a few things to pay attention to…..

– The same word (ruach) for breathe is the same word for God’s spirit here. When God gives breathe and breathing…when we take time to feel those moments, God fills with Spirit and new life happens.

– God and Ezekiel are a team here.  God has the human prophesy first before adding that spirit.  New life is a God and human with activity (as I like to call them).

-New hope and deep peace comes from a dry valley with an battle zone that is reclaimed.

-God gives us new visions to get there.

 

Ok, now I am really getting excited. I love this scripture.  The imagery alone makes this a beautiful, poetic, story that unfolds and gives me great hope.  I hope it does for you as well!

 

I will leave you with a blessing this morning as I continue to prep for the morning to come…..take a breath….

When We Breathe Together by Jan Richardson

This is the blessing
we cannot speak
by ourselves.

This is the blessing
we cannot summon
by our own devices,
cannot shape
to our purpose,
cannot bend
to our will.

This is the blessing
that comes
when we leave behind
our aloneness
when we gather
together
when we turn
toward one another.

This is the blessing
that blazes among us
when we speak
the words
strange to our ears

when we finally listen
into the chaos

when we breathe together
at last.

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