14 I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act, says the Lord.”
Ezekiel 37:14 (NRSV)
The Valley of Dry Bones
by Elizabeth Vincent

Today I went for a nice long, quiet walk. I love these walks on the trails around my home. Today a warm sun beamed down taking the chill out of the breeze. Even though the trees are bare and the grass brown, I felt clean – free from the pressures of all that is happening just now. They provide a time for reflection and renewal.  
The lectionary scripture from Ezekiel begins with Ezekiel’s vision of God walking him to a valley filled with dry bones and instructing him to declare to the bones: “I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live again” (Ezekiel 37:5). Ezekiel complies, “the bones come together, sinew and flesh then form over them” (37:8), yet they do not have breath. God then instructs Ezekiel to call the ruach (wind/spirit/breath), and say: “ Come, O ruach, from the four winds, and breathe on these slain, so that they can live” (37:9). The winds comply, “and the ruach entered them, and they came to life and stood up on their feet, a vast multitude” (37:10).

To me this is a story of renewal – redemption from fear and the dryness of life. It reminds me that what reanimated those dry bones, haruach Elohim- the breath of God, brings us back from that valley of bones.

Like many of you, I am “at home” these days:  no school, no church, no meetings, just my own company. But, I can still go for a nice long walk away from TV and telephone. The sun warms me, the ruach hugs me, and I regain balance. The world seems not so scary. I am made whole again. Thank you, God, Thank you.

 Dear God of all, you bring balance and wholeness to our confusing, frustrating,
and sometimes scary lives.
We turn from hope and from peace as we spin and struggle, suspended
on ropes of grievance, disappointment, worry, stress, and fear.
Walk with us along a quiet trail, let your sun warm our bodies,
let your ruach bring balance and renewed hope to our spirits.
We pray this in your Holy Name. Amen.