Ezekiel 37:1-3 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which [was] full of bones, And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, [there were] very many in the open valley; and, lo, [they were] very dry. And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest.
Death - we donít talk about that here. We have science, we have medicine, we have learned about healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle, and as long as we do what weíre supposed to do..... The problem is that if you donít talk about death, you really canít deal with death. If you donít deal with death, then life begins to get very confusing.
Death, by itself is not a good thing. Death is one of the fruits of sin. We know that the wages of sin is death. We know that we all will one day die. And for all the science and medicine there is no cure that has yet been found for death. Death is a problem from which we have no solution, and thatís why we donít want to talk about it. It makes us feel helpless and hopeless. It makes us feel small and powerless. Even if we could do everything we are supposed to do, and eat everything we were supposed to eat, we would die. And if death is not talked about, people will still try to hope in themselves, and will not hear the rest of the story.
Death is real, but it is not the end. Life in this world is a temporary thing, it is a journey towards the life that lasts forever. Death is real, but so also is the resurrection of the dead. In the creed we confessed "I believe in the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come."
So we talk about death, so that we can talk about the hope and promise of the resurrection of the dead. And the resurrection of the dead is no hope without also the promise of new and everlasting life. All of this we speak of as "the new creation" - and it is something we want to be a part of. We want to be made new and perfect, and this is what God in Christ has promised. We want to live forever, and this is what is ours in Jesus Christ.
We talk about death, on the one hand because Jesus died, even though he was without sin, even though death had no power over him. Jesus died for our sins, and by Jesus death in our place he has conquered death, and the devil and the world. Jesus has conquered all enemies, and Jesus would give us this victory.
We talk about death, so that we can see the hope that is ours in the resurrection of the dead and the life everlasting. We talk about death so that we can remember that God by grace through faith is already working in us a new creation. God is at work changing us from miserable sinners into saints. God is changing us from being wicked and evil, and changing us into his beloved children, who live lives which honor their heavenly father, and glorify him by lives of faith.
And thatís why we have the valley of dry bones, so that speaking of sin & death and its curse, we might speak also of its cure, Jesus Christ, and of his gift of the resurrection of the dead and the life everlasting.
We speak of death so that we can understand what Jesus paid to forgive our sins, so that we might rejoice all the more in the resurrection. We speak of death, that with great joy we might hear the good news from Jesus "I am the resurrection and the life, He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die."