Students sitting outside Bockman
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Monday, March 27, 2017

When I ponder the mystery that is the resurrection of the body, which we affirm whenever we recite the Apostles' Creed, I think about this passage from Ezekiel. Bones of people long dead, bones bearing the chips and breaks of ancient warfare, bones picked clean by animals, bones scattered and separated, suddenly find their mates, fuse together, take on a new layer of flesh and are ready to receive the breath of God again. For Ezekiel, these bones represent the people of Israel, decimated by war, starving in their own land or scattered outside of it, losing hope and doubting the faithfulness of their God. God makes new life for Israel arise from a valley full of next-to-nothing. With Ezekiel, we look upon the rising, dancing bones and remember that our God brings life out of death, and that God's own breath can animate whatever next-to-nothing we bring.

Faithful God, in the midst of so many signs of death and brokenness in our world, help us to see the surprising gift of life and hope that you offer through your creative power among us. Amen.

Cameron B. R. Howard
Assistant Professor of Old Testament, Luther Seminary

Ezekiel 37:1-14 (NRSV)

1 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.
2 He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry.
3 He said to me, "Mortal, can these bones live?" I answered, "O Lord God, you know."
4 Then he said to me, "Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.
5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live.
6 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."
7 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.
8 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.
9 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."
10 I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.
11 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.'
12 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.
13 And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people.
14 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 God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.