Well, the American journey is almost at an end. Just a few days more of preaching and visiting with my parents and cutest, nicest and smartest niece, Lisa, in Michigan.
The feeling of spring is almost here, yet for a wee bit things are still brown and dead feeling.
Similar to what Ezekiel must have felt in Ezekiel 37:1-14, one of the Fifth Sunday of Lent texts. He started out in that well rehearsed valley of dry bones. Oh the doom and gloom as he looked on this place with nothing but death.
Ezekiel 37:1-4: “The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, …and, lo, they were very dry. And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live?” Ezekiel answered by stating “O Lord GOD, you know.”
I think that is truly the only answer one can give in a situation like this; ‘God, only You know if the dead can rise.’ A moment of faith for Ezekiel, since he had not seen a dead person come back to life. In John 11, the Gospel Reading, in the familiar story of Lazarus, Jesus called him from the grave and showed the world of that day His power over death. But Ezekiel hadn’t seen resurrection before so he simply put his trust in God.
God then told Ezekiel to command the bones to live. At his obedience to the voice of God, suddenly things started to happen as the bones came to life before the conclusion of verses 12-13: “Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus says the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, …you shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves.”
Romans 8:6-11, the New Testament reading, takes this from the physical to the spiritual level as it says: “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is hostile against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man doesn’t have the Spirit of Christ, he is not God’s. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised Christ from the dead shall also raise your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you.”
I am glad for God’s promises, both spiritually and physically. I know as I have done funerals the promise of the resurrection is a comfort and peace giver to all. My prayer is, as well as the physical resurrection we anticipate, we can also know a spiritual resurrection, life as a forgiven and redeemed child of God.
This would be my prayer, that we find this Romans 8 place as we approach Easter.
Celebrate the coming resurrection,
Rev. Jon Bergen