So, have you ever been spiritually dry?
After Easter it is so easy to be worn out with all your spiritual energy depleted. Yes, it is good to be beyond winter. Yes, it is good to be beyond Lent and Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.
It is good to see the crocuses, the daffodils, and the buds on the trees. It is good to see the nation turning the corner on Covid, even with variants out there, and younger people now struggling with the virus.
It is good to be outside and feel the heat of the sun on our skins, no matter what the dermatologist says. Use your sunscreen people.
But still, in spite of the good news of resurrection, in spite of the good news that Jesus is alive, there remains a bone tiredness, that should be a signal that we need to stop, drop and pray.
That we need to come to the font of all blessing and drink deep. That we need to be aware of our spiritual fragileness and take time to refresh and get healthy.
Between Covid and politics, isolation and winter, we have used up the energy that has moved us along in life. God is good, all the time. But sometimes we are just tired.
And all dried out! And it’s time for revival, renewal, and a new beginning.
Not so we can run away, escape from life, but so we can run to it with full hearts, with a desire to see God’s kingdom come in all its glory, to see our lives come to flower just like those daffodils in the gardens.
We have been through a time of fear, and defeat, and a full tomb. Now it’s time to see the tomb is empty!
I was looking out in the yard the other day, and on the hill behind the neighbor’s house is a uneven line of daffodils, not by the house at all, not in a garden, just growing and glowing wild and free out among the dry grasses.
What a wonderful picture of God’s grace and love peeking out with glowing energy in the midst of a field of dryness.
Ezekiel’s vision is a different version of the same thing. The prophet was speaking to Judah and the Jewish people in captivity in Babylon. Unlike Jeremiah who was still back in Judah, Ezekiel was in Susa, a captive like the rest.
The image he sees in his vision is of a field of dry bones. It must have been deeply unsettling for a man who one could imagine had see the fields of dead soldiers and others left behind after the battles with the far superior Babylonian armies.
He knew that many of those who fell could still be in those fields, flesh rotting away, now only bones. If only they could come back to life, if only they had never fallen, if only Judah hadn’t lost the battle.
But Ezekiel knew there was more to the story. They hadn’t failed just because they were outnumbered, out-commanded, and out-skilled in the art of war!
They had fallen because God had weighed their faith and found it wanting. He had measured their devotion and found it lacking. They were just playing being God’s people and God had judged them!
They were unwilling to be filled with the spirit and act as God’s children would. They failed the prophet Micah’s test for the people of God to be called the people of God.
Listen to what the Lord says: With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
God wants a people who love Him, but also who love and respect each other. Who love their neighbors and they do themselves! And Judah had failed miserably!
So now God’s people now were dried out bones, figuratively and actually, shells of their former selves, empty of God’s presence and God’s power.
Nothing was holding their dried-out bones together: no muscles, no ligaments, no tendons, no organs, no skin; but most importantly, no breath, no spirit, no presence of God!
And what does God ask Ezekiel? Ezekiel, can these bones live?
Can God’s dried out people be revived? Can they be resurrected? Can they become the living, moving, praising, serving, growing, changing, difference making, spirit-filled people who can by faith move mountains?
Ezekiel’s answer is, “Lord, only you can answer this!”
And so, God did, as the dried-out husks rose and were filled, just as the one laid in a tomb arose and full of the spirit challenged each and everyone one us to not linger in our dried-out state, but to pray for a filling that will empower us into our new future as people and as a church!
Yes, it has been tough. Yes, we have experienced losses. We are all dry! The other day the dermatologist said to me, “you are very dry”! Thanks! My skin is practically Kentucky Friend Crispy.
But it doesn’t need to be. And neither does my soul or yours! We can determine right now to do what is needed to come close to the Lord and to let God refill us with his presence, power, and with the Holy Spirit.
Winter is gone, Covid is on the ropes, and the Tomb is empty! Pour out your Spirit oh God, and refresh your loving servants, we all pray. In Jesus Name! Amen.