Dry Bones

Key Texts: Ezekiel 37:1-14

The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”

I wonder if you have ever felt like Ezekiel, transported by a vision, looking out over a desolate valley full of bones.  The bones are dry – very dry.  There is no life here, only death.  No hope.  No dream.  No future.  No vision.

And then comes the question: “…can these bones live?”

And the answer Ezekiel gives is the only one that ultimately any of us can give:

“Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”

As the Bible tells it, the bones can “live.”

Step by step, layer by layer, bone, muscle, flesh – the structure of the body is put into place but it is only with the coming of the Spirit, the Breath, that life moves through the lifeless.

I wonder if you have ever felt like Ezekiel, wondering if what has become dead, lifeless, can live again.  Perhaps it is a dream, a hope, a relationship, a calling – you stand in that dark valley and wonder if there is any possibility of life moving through the lifeless.

I believe that in such moments, if we turn to the Divine, the life-giver, and humbly utter that statement in the form of a hopeful prayer, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know” then life can come: resurrection.

In hopeless, lifeless moments, turn to God.

Trust and hope and dream – and begin again – because the Sovereign God is not, as Jesus said, not the God of the dead but the living.

Find hope – and life – in the coming of the Spirit anew.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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