Ezekiel 37:4-5 "Again 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: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live."
Sometimes, in the early spring, walking through the woods, you can come across a skeleton, shortly it will be hidden by tall grass, in the fall, it will be hidden by leaves, and in winter, it will be deep under snow. Thatís about all the dry bones we are likely to see, unless we take a trip, to the desert, and because there is little life in the desert, it is unlikely that we will see a valley of dry bones. And for us to hear the word of God through Ezekiel, it is important for us to imagine a valley of bones, bones so dry, that there is no sign that there was ever life in them. Dry brittle, and bleached white, and if you broke them open, the marrow, would have already turned to dust.
Can these bones live? Certainly there is no human power that can bring them to life. And the point of the valley of dry bones is, that there is a power that can bring them to life -- God. Now, I do not know any Christian who would want to bring a valley of dry bones to life, for at death comes the judgment, and Christians look forward to eternal life with God in heaven, where everything is perfect. But Christians are not the majority, many will perish, many have no hope of everlasting life for they do not know of Jesus Christ, or of the salvation he has won.
And such people can be said to be dead in their trespasses and sins. Such people can believe themselves cut off and without hope. Theyíre not dead yet, but they despair of life. They would gladly hear of hope and life and forgiveness, if only they could hear it. Funny thing is, is that often we think it is too late, for often people are set in their ways, and we lament -- who can change them? But if God can bring life to dry bones, certainly this is not too great a thing for God to do, to bring hope to the lost, forsaken, and the discouraged. And thatís good, but thatís not us.
And so our attention turns to what God can do for us. A God who can give life to dry bones, and forgive the sins of all, donít you suppose God can do something for us? Often we speak of how God accepts us just as we are, and some how that becomes an excuse why we need not change. And we lie to ourselves and say God doesnít really expect us to keep the commandments, or do seek and to do His will. You see this text is really about us, and about the change God wants to work on us. For we have learned that the Holy Ghost calls me by the gospel, enlightens me with his gifts, sanctifies and keeps me in true faith - we often forget that the work of our sanctification, that is, God making us holy and perfect, is a life long process. It is a gradual process, for each day our ears are open a bit more, and our eyes are opened a bit more, so that each day we can hear and see new things which change our lives, and through it all, we are not alone, for through it all, the Holy Spirit has been living in the temple of our heart. And if God can bring life to dry bones, we are never too old to be learning, or growing or changing into what By grace we have been called to be - the children of God.
But thatís not the end of the story, for if God is working to change us as individuals, he is also working with us all, to change us all, and here we refer to what God is doing in the church. You see, often the church becomes life a valley of dry bones, each is separate, unconnected and alone. God did not create the church to be dry bones, for God calls it the body of Christ. And so God works through the spirit to bring bone to its bone and to knit them all together, putting sinew and muscle on it, and breathing life into it, until it rises, a might host.
We may not think we are a might host, we may not feel we are a mighty host, we may not believe that all things are possible, or that we can move mountains -- never the less, this is Godís promise to us in His Word. God brings us together, and joins us together, so that together we can accomplish much. But a body with no feet cannot travel to the ends of the earth, and a body with no backbone cannot even stand,Ö. In other words, all the parts are important and necessary. And so it is that we today celebrate the work of the Holy Spirit, who brings life to the dead, who brings us together and makes us one, and leads us on to the perfect lace created for us in Christ. In Christ we are a mighty host, for it is God who forgives, God who gathers, God who joins us together and gives us direction, and God who enables us to do more than we could ever imagine. It is with these eyes I look forward to the good things ahead, and praise God for years of his grace, for Jesus sake.