The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”
Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin: I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’” – Ezekiel 37:1-6
Sunday past, the Christian Community around the world celebrated Pentecost Day. The word Pentecost, comes from the Greek word pentekonta, meaning 50th. Pentecost to the Hebrews is the same as the Feast of Weeks, (Exodus 34:22) or the Feast of Ingathering (Exodus 23:16) or the Feast of First Fruits (Numbers 28:26).
The Hebrews celebrated the Feast of Weeks fifty days after Passover. Pentecost is celebrated on the 50th day after Easter.
In the text, the spirit of God transported the prophet Ezekiel to a valley of dry bones. As the prophet stood in that valley of dry bones, the Lord questioned him about those bones. “Son of man, can these bones live?”
He did not know the answer to that question, however, he had faith that God could do the impossible. Therefore, he responded: “O sovereign Lord, you alone know.” He left it up to God because he knew that God had the power to make them live.
The dry bones were God’s way of showing the prophet and the people of Israel who had lost hope during their years of captivity, that he was able to renew their hope. He was able to rescue the people from their dilemma even though it appeared that there was no hope for them.
The early Christian Church was like the congregation of Israelites and that valley of dry bones. It seemed that there was no hope for the church. Almost immediately after Jesus had ascended into heaven, the church under the frightened disciples, seemed doomed to failure.
Both the Roman government and the Jewish authorities were determined to destroy God’s church. However, the disciples, even though they were frightened about their future and that of the church, they remained faithful and waited for God to act.
He fulfilled his promise to them with the anointing of the Holy Spirit, which marked the beginning of the Christian church. God raised up a church from nothing and made it the most dominating force on earth. From just 11 insignificant and frightened men God created a mighty army.
The celebration of Pentecost reminds us of what God can do. He can take a group of timid men, put a little “fire” in them and make them into a powerful force. Yes, Pentecost teaches us that we have a God of promise and power.
Therefore, though the world may frustrate us and make us worry about the bleak outlook of the church and cause us to have doubt, we are reminded, the spirit of God is at work in the world. He is the spirit of truth who came into the world to guide and to strengthen us.
The Lord is always with us, especially when the challenges of life overtake us. He will renew our faith, revive us by putting sinews and muscles in our spirit, making us alive again. Amen.
• Rev. Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at the Lutheran Church of Nassau, 119 John F. Kennedy Drive, can be reached at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas; or telephone: 426-9084; E-mail: email@example.com; website: www.nassaulutheranchurch.org.