As the summer heat blazes in its richest glory, some of us find ourselves renewed with life while others wither and find ourselves searching for shade from that which scorches us. This week we will go off-lectionary to meet the prophet Ezekiel in the valley of dry bones where life is gone. It's a very, very quiet place . . . . this place of death. And yet it's not unseen by God. Wherever you happen to be in your life right now, however life eludes you or hides from you, know that even there, we believe that God can breathe life into you.
The Vision Of Dry Bones by Susanna Moodie
The Spirit of God with resistless control,
Like a sunbeam, illumined the depths of my soul,
And visions prophetical burst on my sight,
As he carried me forth in the power of his might.
Around me I saw in a desolate heap
The relics of those who had slept their death-sleep,
In the midst of the valley, all reckless and bare,
Like the hope of my country, lie withering there,--
"Son of man! can these dry bones, long bleached in decay,
Ever feel in their flesh the warm beams of the day;
Can the spirit of life ever enter again
The perishing heaps that now whiten the plain?"
"Lord, thou knowest alone, who their being first gave:
Thy power may be felt in the depths of the grave;
The hand that created again may impart
The rich tide of feeling and life to the heart.
"Lo, these dry bones are withered and shrunk in the blast,
O'er their ashes the tempests of ages have past;
And the flesh that once covered each mouldering frame
With the dust of the earth is re-mingled again:--
At the voice of their God, son of man, they shall rise;
The light shall revisit their death-darkened eyes;
Their sinews and flesh shall again be restored,
They shall live and acknowledge the power of the Lord!"
And lo! as I prophesied o'er them, a sound,
Like the rushing of water, was heard all around:
The earth trembled and shook like a leaf in the wind,
As those long-severed limbs to each other were joined,
And flesh came upon them, and beauty and grace
Returned, as in life, to each warrior's face.
A numberless host they lay stretched on the sod,
All glowing and fresh from the hand of their God.
But the deep sleep of death on each eyelid still hung;
Each figure was motionless, mute every tongue:
Through those slumbering thousands there breathed not a sound,
And silence, unbroken, reigned awfully round:--
"Raise thy voice, son of man! call the winds from on high,
As viewless they sweep o'er the brow of the sky;
And life shall return on the wings of the blast,
And the slumber of death shall be broken at last."
I called to the wind--and a deep answer came
In the rush of the tempest, the bursting of flame;
And the spirit of life, as it breathed on the dead,
Restored to each body the soul that had fled.
Rejoicing to break from that dreamless repose,
Like a host in the dark day of battle they rose;
He alone who had formed them could number again
The myriads that filled all the valley and plain.
"Son of man! in this numerous army behold
My chosen of Israel, beloved of old.
They say that the hope of existence is o'er,
That no power from death's grasp can the spirit restore:
He who called you my people is mighty to save,
Your God can re-open the gates of the grave;
From the chain of oblivion the soul can release,
And restore you again to your country in peace!"
10:30 a.m.: 3rd Sunday After Pentecost and Scholarship Presentations
10:30 a.m.: 4th Sunday After Pentecost
Office closed for 4th of July
4 p.m.: Session Meeting