Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Larry Pray

Friday, October 31

The hand of the Lord came upon me, and 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 said, "Mortal, can these bones live again?"”
—Ezekiel 37: 1,3

Sometimes it's a word of Scripture that triggers reflection. And
sometimes it's an event. Tonight, skeletons are walking the streets, knocking at our doors and saying, "Trick or treat."

I will refrain from asking them if they have ever heard of a prophet
named Ezekiel, and if they know about the valley of dry bones. But their frightening costumes, and giggle-filled chorus of oohs and aahas as they count their candies, will point me to Ezekiel's vision.

In a world well-acquainted with death, will life have the final word? 

I realize that my either/or question misses the point. The most
important discernment does not determine if something is dead or alive. Instead it wants to know how loss turns into gain, how sorrow gives way to laughter. It wants to know how far the reach of faith can be.

I suspect that when we look at the skeletons in our lives, we know many of them by name. We can name relationships that turned sour, the  hopes that turned to ash, and piles of discarded assumptions that turned out to be anything but true. 

We know all about the valley of dry bones. What then, will we do? Will we leave them as they are? Or will we summon the courage to call them back to life? It is the question God asked Ezekiel: Can these bones live again? Ezekiel ducks the question by answering, "O Lord God, you know."

In the end it is God who brings those bones back to life.  Once that happens we are to live with them. When we do, the skeletons at the doors of our lives turn out to be our neighbor's children, who giggle at the trick they've played.  

"You thought it was all about death", they seem to say. "Trick or treat! It's about life!"

Grant us the courage, O God of life, that the dry bones we know all too well will become part of our family once again. Amen.