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29 March 2020

Lent 5A Sermon: These Bones Live

Preached on Ezekiel 37:1–14
Fifth Sunday in Lent
With an Abbreviated Service of Prayer and Preaching
29 March AD 2020

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of These Bones Live. Sermon begins at the 13:10 mark, following Responses, Scriptures, Creed, and Lord’s Prayer. The service concludes with the Prayers of the Church, Collect of the Day, Collect for the Word, Morning Prayer, and Benediction.

Ezekiel 37:-14 Summary: When they are caught up by the Spirit of the Lord, His people end up in some interesting places. Today we witness Ezekiel, prophet to the exiles in Babylon, receiving a vision of restoration for Israel in a valley of dry bones. These are not the recently deceased, as was Lazarus in today’s Gospel. They are long-dead, barely a memory among the people. Yet they receive new lives as a gift of God.

Just as the Spirit reassembles and reanimates the dry bones, so the Lord promises to revitalize the Children of Israel and to return them to the land promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Furthermore, we know that the same God who grants life to all creatures and spiritual life to all who believe in Him will lead us from mortal life in this fallen Creation to everlasting life through Christ in the New Creation.

Text: The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry. And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

And I answered, “O Lord God, you know.”

Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon 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.”

So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them. But there was no breath in them.

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.”

So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.

Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are indeed cut off.’ Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the Lord.” Ezekiel 37:1–14

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of These Bones Live. Sermon begins at the 13:10 mark.

Other Readings: Psalm 130; Romans 8:1–11; John 11:1–53

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