Can These Bones Live?

Rev. Eric Brown

Son of man, can these bones live? - Ezekiel 37:3

I know that Easter is supposed to be a time of great and utter joy. And it is. It's just that when Easter comes, there can sometimes be a...let's call it a lack of energy in the old Brown household--at least when it comes to me. After Lent and Holy Week, I'm beat. If I had my druthers, we'd name the week after Easter "Couch Week" and expect all pastors to just sit and binge watch Netflix shows or sports.

I'm only partially joking. Easter 2--Quasimodo Genti--the week after Easter is one of the most common weeks for pastors to take off. It's weak week. It's the week when I don't want to do anything. And it's a great week. In the old 1-year lectionary we get Ezekiel and the Dry Bones from Ezekiel 37:1-14. Ezekiel sees a valley full of skeletons, bleached white by the sun--the remains of a battle fought long ago. And God asks Ezekiel a simple question, "Son of man, can these bones live?"

According to all sense and reason, according to all normal expectations in the world, the answer should be no. This is beyond Bones McCoy on Star Trek saying, "He's dead, Jim." They are already just bones. No more skin, no more flesh. Gone. But Ezekiel doesn't answer according to the normal expectations of the world. "O LORD God, You know." Well God, I wouldn't expect them to, but since You're asking the question, there's probably something that You know--something You plan that isn't what the world would expect.

And God tells Ezekiel to prophesy to the bones, to speak the Word of God to them, and to declare to them that they shall live. And it's a great narrative in Ezekiel 37: There's zeal, there's urgency. Go read it, but when you read it, read God's lines in it with passion, with urgency. God's doing something exciting here; He's not bored with it. It's making His day. Those bones rise.

And God promises resurrection, both now in life and also eternally. God promises to breathe life into people, to restore people, to open our graves and raise us. And the kicker: "I have spoken, and I will do it."

It doesn't matter if I'm weak. It doesn't matter if I'm worn out and drained. It doesn't even matter if I am not only dead tired but even if I am literally dead. God has spoken, and God will do it. You see, it doesn't revolve around me and my energy; it doesn't revolve around what you can bring to the table. God has spoken, and God does it.

The beauty of Easter isn't just that someday God will do something cool. It isn't just that someday things will be better. No--God is active, even when (especially when) I am weak and worn and can't do a thing. He gives life, even when we are at our weakest and lowest and worst. Even the week after Easter. Even the week after the party, after the celebration, even the week when things are at their worst. Christ Jesus the Lord has spoken life to you. In fact, He's washed you in it in your baptism, and fed you the Resurrection and the Life in His Supper. The world might see a weak, dried up mess; God knows what is up. He lives, and so do you. He has spoken; He will do it.

Rev. Eric Brown is pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Herscher, Illinois.

Created: March 31st, 2016