Lectionary Texts: Ezekiel 37:1-14, Psalm 130, Romans 8:6-11
by Leah Ellison Bradley, based on texts from the New Revised Standard Version and The Message.
Theme: Dry Bones Dance
A Choral Reading – Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year A
Based upon texts from the New Revised Standard Version and The Message.
Ezekiel: The hand of the LORD came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. He said to me,
God: “Mortal, can these bones live?”
Ezekiel: I answered, “O Lord GOD, you know.”
Psalmist: Help, God—the bottom has fallen out of my life! Hear my cry for help! Listen hard! Open your ears! Listen to my cries for mercy.
Paul: To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law — indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
Ezekiel: Then he said to me,
God: “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the LORD.”
Paul: But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you.
Ezekiel: So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them;
Psalmist: Lord, hear my voice!
Ezekiel: . . . but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me,
God: “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord GOD: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.”
Ezekiel: I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.
Paul: Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
God: “Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.’
Psalmist: If you, O LORD, kept records of wrongdoings, who would stand a chance? But there is forgiveness with you, and that is why you’re worshiped.
God: Prophesy, and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13
Psalmist: I pray to God—my life a prayer—and wait for what he’ll say and do. My life’s on the line before God, my Lord, waiting and watching till morning,
God: And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves.
Psalmist: . . . waiting and watching till morning.
God: I will put my spirit within you,
Paul: When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s!
Psalmist: Wait and watch for God—with God’s arrival comes love, with God’s arrival comes generous redemption.
God: . . . and you shall live . . . then you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken and will act.