Ervin Stutzman’s last day as executive director of Mennonite Church USA (MC USA) is April 30. I would like to thank him for his years […]
Reflections on Ezekiel 37:1-14.
Observing and experiencing life our spirits often repeat the prophetic question, “Can these dry bones live?”
The frame of our faith experience is bones. These faith-bones carry our collective experience in the form of congregation, conference, paraministry and small groups. These bony formations become dry when we get disturbed or distracted from our gifted purpose.
Sometimes distractions are budget shortfalls, leadership change, volunteer fatigue or disinterested membership. Initially each of us is all-in and committed to sharing joy and labor in community. However we all get disturbed at different times and in different ways.
Chaos and violence in society, unmet personal needs, shattered hope. We awaken to children with addictions, disabilities, anxieties and the list goes on. We experience brokenheartedness, financial setbacks, deaths of loved ones, infertility or other unpleasant and unplanned incidents. We withdraw from one another or we lean too heavily. We speak too loud, say too much or allow silence to linger too long.
The hymns bring us little joy. Our praise diminishes. Our prayers drain us. We look at ourselves and one another and we ask with doubting hope, “Can these dry bones live?”
We will feel ourselves coming alive as God resuscitates us. These bones live again, not because of us; perhaps in spite of us, these bones live. Refreshed by the breath of God blowing over and through us we see ourselves and one another anew and alive.
We rejoice in praise and find the rhythm to engage in ministry, fellowship and missions. We reach out to others as we receive the energizing breath of God, Savior and Holy Spirit. Our eyes no longer see death and despair but we see in faith that we can and do live as we faithfully walk in the new life given by Christ.
Breathe on me, God. Breathe on me Christ and help our unbelief. Breathe on me Holy Spirit and remind us we are never alone. Breathe on us and reconnect us to our gifted purpose in holy fellowship. We are not a bone. We are bones and together the Body of Christ. Resuscitate us that we may reconnect and reach out to others with your love.
Kelly Bates Oglesby resides with her husband in Indianapolis. Presently she’s discerning ministry/pastoral opportunities while providing supply preaching and teaching service as called.
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