Against the backdrop of 107 deaths per minute and 150,000 per day, we see how Jesus’ resurrection furnishes us with a living hope. In view of this gift, one possible response would be to encapsulate ourselves in the safety of our own salvation, putting human pain in our peripheral vision. But God “brought [Ezekiel] out in the Spirit of the LORD and set [him] down in the middle of the valley… and led [him] around among them… (1-2). The Lord wanted Ezekiel to take in the reality of death from the very middle of it.
Like Ezekiel, we step into the pain and death of humanity with eyes wide open, but we must not stop there. We believe that bones can live. Crazy as it sounds, indeed, “foolish,” according to Paul, it is true. The most tentative and enfeebled preacher possesses power to speak life into dead bones. Why? Because Jesus Christ swallowed up death, the Savior who shed his blood and rose victoriously from the grave. He is the true ship to which Lawrence points. The apple has already fallen, thunderously upon the earth, but the last Adam has fallen with it. Therefore, we need not cower naked in the last branches of the tree of life. We need not build little boats with oars, gathering little dishes and accoutrements fitting for a departing soul. We need not collect little cakes and wine for the dark flight to oblivion. We need not fear the flood, for the Savior has poured himself out as an atoning sacrifice. This is what we see, and, because it is so marvelous, we joyfully proclaim it to the world.
My sermon from last week at Trinity Church in South Bend, titled “How Dry Bones Live,” may be accessed by clicking on the above image or HERE.