Readings for Sunday March 29 2020
(Click link on right to read.)
John 11:1-45 - Gospel Lesson
Ezekial 37:1-14 – 1st Reading
Romans 8:6-11 - 2nd Reading
As we approach the coming Easter morn when Christ was raised from the dead to conquer death so that we can live, we read four passages that speak of life from death.
First on our trek this 5th week of Lent is the Valley of Dry Bones. The prophet Ezekiel saw a vision. Bones, scattered across the parched valley. Hundreds upon thousands of bones we might imagine, dry as the dust from which they came. And just as he did with Adam, God breathed his breath into what was lifeless. And the bones lived. God’s breath. His ruach. His Spirit. I imagine it like a whisper, gently filling spiritual lungs. But perhaps that day it was more of a rushing wind. Like an Arizona haboob speeding across that dust-filled valley on its mission to bring life to the dead. Nor did the dry bones remain silent. The rattling of femurs and ribs and kneecaps and vertebrae coming together must have made a joyful noise in the vision. The joyful noise of new life.
Out of the Valley we approach the depths of Psalm 130. Depths of shame and guilt that feel like death. That are death. Brought on by sin. Because the life trapped by sin, is no life. The psalmist longs for the life that comes from the forgiveness of God. His soul cries out for it and claims it. Claims life. There is a line in a song by We the Kingdom called “Holy Water.”
is like sweet, sweet honey on my lips,
like the sound of a symphony to my ears,
like Holy Water on my skin.”
We who were dead in sin, rise up and sing a song of life. Because of God’s loving kindness, forgiveness and life have been granted to us if we claim it.
Our journey turns internal. Paul, in Romans, takes us into our own hearts. Hearts within our own valley of bones, but these covered in flesh. This flesh cannot be righteous, cannot live. Life in the flesh is no life at all. But we are not alone on our journey. God’s Spirit dwells within us. His breath. His ruach. Taking residence among the muscles and bones. This is life. This is peace.
And finally our lessons take us to Israel. More precisely, the village of Bethany. More exactly, to the site of a tomb where Lazarus lay in death. With a shout Jesus called to Lazarus, rolling away the stone that held death and freeing a man to live. Another contemporary Christian song comes to mind, this one by Lauren Daigle entitled “Still Rolling Stones.” Indeed, he is still rolling stones. He breathes, he forgives, he dwells, he calls. And he rolls away the tombstones of our sin so that we can walk in the light.
We can be slaves to sin, dead to sin, dried up from sin, 6 feet under buried by sin. During this time of Lent we reflect on our sin that nailed Jesus to the cross. But God breathes his breath, sends his Spirit, and forgives us. He whispers and he shouts. He will do anything to bring us back to life. He, the Son, died for us so that we can rise up and live. I can’t help myself. Though many churches hide the Alleluia until Easter morning, spending the pre-season of Lent in contemplation, these lessons make me want to rattle bones with a joyful noise.
e-Devotion author: Bobbie Tomasek.
If you are interested in becoming an e-Devotion author, please contact Pastor Dan Hoeger at [email protected] or 602.866.9191.
The e-Devotion can also be viewed on the All Saints website.