Lectionary for the Fifth Sunday in Lent Year A
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.
This prophecy from Ezekiel was one of my favorite camp songs.
The head bone's connected to the neck bone.
The neck bone's connected to the shoulder bone.
The shoulder bone's connected to the arm bone.
The arm bone's connected to the hand bone.
Dem bones gonna rise again.
I didn't really know or care that the hand is made up of 27 individual bones, and it's obvious why I didn't become an orthopedic surgeon. What I liked about this song is that it was rebuilding something. Scattered dry bones were coming together again, rattling back into place, finding some semblance of order. Then, these Halloween-like skeletons received breath. What once was dead was now alive. There was hope from despair. Perhaps things seem gloomy or even despairing today as we live in the midst of a pandemic. Maybe all we can see is a valley of dry bones. Prophesy to the bones. Do what you can to fill today with life. A friend sent this to a friend who sent it to me and now I send it to you. Prophesy to the bones:
History will remember when the world stopped
And the flights stayed on the ground.
And the cars parked in the street.
And the trains didn't run.
History will remember when the schools closed
And the children stayed indoors
And the medical staff walked towards the fire
And they didn't run.
History will remember when the people sang
On their balconies, in isolation
But so very much together
In courage and song.
History will remember when the people fought
For their old and their weak
Protected the vulnerable
By doing nothing at all.
History will remember when the virus left
And the houses opened
And the people came out
And hugged and kissed
And started again
Kinder than before.
Be safe. Be hope. Let's stay home and connected in love and prayer.