“Dem Bones, Dem Bones, Dem Dry Bones!”
And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.
The neighbors behind my backyard are very quiet. They make no sound whatsoever. That’s because, behind my backyard is St. Matthew Lutheran Cemetery.
It is an interesting place. As I’ve been a pastor at St. Matthew for going on eight years, I knew some my neighbors personally – neighbors like Jan, Tom, Dan, and Marylyn.
They were people that I talked with, preached to, and prayed with.
The cemetery is quite big, hundreds of people are buried there, possibly thousands, as the cemetery dates to the founding of the church during the American Civil War in 1863.
Sometimes I walk among the stones and think about all those people. I imagine what their lives were like, living through the Civil War, the turn of the 19th to the 20th Century, the Great Depression, and the FDR Administration.
The prophet Ezekiel had a similar experience once.
He had a vision from God. Ezekiel was brought to a valley of dry bones. A massive field of dead people. God wanted him to speak to the bones, to the dead people.
These bones were not physically dead people, but represented spiritually dead people.
People like you and me.
Do you feel like you are alive? I suppose that, in a certain sense, we all feel alive. I can put my fingers on my wrist or up against my throat and feel my heartbeat.
You can find a sense of alive-ness in René Descartes’ proposition, “je pense, donc je suis.” Or, if you prefer the Latin, “Cogito, ergo sum”.
If you can translate either of those, post it in the comments section below!
Still, while we are physically alive, we are all born spiritually dead.
We start this life as spiritual dry bones.
That is, until the Word of the Lord is spoken to us.
Which is what God wanted Ezekiel to do.
Which is what God wants each of us to do.
O Dry Bones, Hear the Word of the Lord
When the Gospel of Jesus Christ is proclaimed to a person who is spiritually “dry bones” then they become one about whom St. Paul wrote, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you” (Ephesians 5:14).
As we become alive by the power of the Gospel, by the love and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we are called to share the Gospel message with others who were once like us.
We are to be like Ezekiel, to “prophesy over these bones” (Ezekiel 37:4).
When that happens, the bones come to life! True life that only Christ can give!
Party in My Backyard
I said before that the neighbors behind my backyard are quiet. But they won’t remain quiet!
That’s because they heard the word of the Lord spoken to them and lived the Christian life in response to the love God has for them.
Then they “fell asleep” in Jesus.
And on the last day “the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first” (1 Thessalonians 4:16).
There will be a party in my backyard!
And what a glorious day that will be – when they come alive once again, to live forever in heaven with Christ!
Let’s you and I strive to speak the Gospel to as many spiritually dry bones as we can, so as to make the cemeteries of this world a huge party on the Last Day.
Heavenly Father, bless the work of proclaiming Your one message of salvation to spiritually dry bones. By this effort, bring more people to a knowledge of Your salvation. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
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