The following is a link to our reading for today:
The hands of compassionate mothers have boiled their children. They became their food in the destruction of the daughters of the people.” It doesn’t get any lower than that. Then those Israelites who survived the war and starvation were taken as prisoners, and dragged back to Babylon. Israel was like the dead skeletons strewn across the desert floor. It truly seemed that God had forsaken them. In their agony they began to cry, “God can’t help us. God won’t help us. There is no God. God is punishing us for our sins. We have become like dry bones.”
When Israel was at the very bottom, in the deepest pit, at its most depressed, God spoke. “Them bones are gonna rise again.” The nation of Israel would come back to life again. When the African-American Community was at its lowest, held in bondage in slavery, treated worse than the animals, they heard and sang the same words. “Them bones them bones are gonna dance around. Now hear the word of the Lord.”
Our God is a God who brings that which was dead to life again.
Or the dryness and deadness can be even more personal. Have you ever been at rock bottom? Have you ever despaired? Have you ever felt cut off from God, wondering if God was even there? Have you ever stood in that valley of dry bones and asked God “why God why?” Within our own congregation, there are marriages at risk, and some of our families are deeply wounded. We have young people who are discouraged and feel lonely and misunderstood. We have hurting parents in our midst, and some are not sure what to do anymore. Some face seemingly insurmountable obstacles at work, and others labor in anguish over personal struggles and shortcomings. Maybe you feel trapped and lost. It can be easy to shrug and say, “Why bother?”
I’ll tell you the story of a period in my life when I felt that all was dry bones. I’ll tell you the story of a period in my life when God made those bones dance again. I was 23 years old. I was young. I was getting ready to head off to seminary. I was full of excitement and anticipation. Then I received news that my parents were divorcing. My whole world feel apart. It was like someone had pulled the ground out from under me. I cried out to God. “Where are you? Are you there?” When I look back to that time 17 years ago, I see that God was always there. God was there in the people of my congregation who loved and cared for me and for whom I loved and cared. God was there in the friends I made when I arrived in seminary. God was in my heart sustaining me through the dark days. God brought me through my valley of dry bones.
In the year 587 BC, God looked around the desert and the desert floor. There were skeletons all around. Nothing but skeletons as far as the eye could see.
And God said: “Them bones, them bones are gonna walk around. Them bones them bones are gonna walk around Them bones, them bones are gonna walk around Now hear the Word of the Lord.” Amen.