And God said to me, ˝Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” Ezekiel 37:3
The year 2020 is over and we are settling into 2021. We have come through what could be seen as a valley of dry bones, as the death toll increases daily, soon to reach 2 million worldwide. Even as we work to deliver a vaccine to everyone, we are aware that takes time and the virus is still spreading. Ezekiel’s vision seems appropriate to what we are facing.
Israel was living in exile and the prophet is told to share God’s message. But God puts a question in his mind: “Can these bones live?” The verse comes from the narrative found in Ezekiel 37:1-14. The prophet Ezekiel is confronted by God and taken to the wilderness in a vision. The vision God gives is of a valley full of bones, dry and lifeless. As the prophet speaks what God commands, the bones come back together as full skeletons, then flesh comes on the bones, then breath to give them life. At the end of the passage God declares, “I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live.”
Yes, I realize this is a word given to people long ago and far away. But the thoughts here seem to fit our circumstances too. Even though the way looks bleak, God wants us to hear again, “I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live.” This word of encouragement is not new to our faith, as God throughout history has always taken care of the world. It is up to us to claim the newness of life that God offers and live as people who have hope in the present and the future.
I’m glad that 2020 is over, even though some of the challenges remain. We will be okay if we keep the faith. We don’t know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future.