Ezekiel, Lent

The Valley of Dry Bones

(Lent 5A    Ezekiel 37:1-14)

I'll never be able to re-create what I wrote on Monday, but here is what was on my mind.

As we get into the juicy personalities of the dramas in John's gospel, it's easy to feel removed from the desert of Lent. But Ezekiel brings us to the place of the dry bones and because it is introspective Lent rather than celebratory Pentecost, perhaps we can stop and ponder them before we reanimate them.

I've been in the desert in Lent. It was 1992, and I was pregnant for the fifth time. My boys were 5 and not quite 2, and in between there had been two miscarriages, and I did not have a confident feeling about the child I was carrying. I felt fine, I looked well, but I could not settle into the idea of the baby, no matter how I tried.

A now-routine blood test indicated there might be a problem, and although I was just 30, I found myself undergoing amniocentesis. Then I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

All through Lent, from the 3rd week to the 6th, I waited for those test results. In one part of my mind I held positive thoughts, took positive actions. I chose a name for the baby; I worked on a little sweater for him.

The hot desert grows dangerously cold at night, and so did I, numbing myself each evening with giant cups of half-frozen Pepsi, sitting under a blanket on the sofa. I did not want to go to bed, because the dark time between turning out the light and falling asleep frightened me. Then entered thoughts of doom and loss and guilt, for if the baby had a problem, surely this was my fault?

Drybones2full37:1 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.      

37:2 He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry.      

37:3 He said to me, "Mortal, can these bones live?" I answered, "O Lord GOD, you know."

The bad news came on Holy Monday. Some bones won't live. Some bones won't live.

I could tie this story with a bow for you, bring it through to Easter and healing, but for today, in the season of Lent, I remember that there were bones, and they were very dry.

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