Then he asked me, “Son of man, can these bones become living people again?”
“O Sovereign Lord,” I replied, “you alone know the answer to that.” (Ezekiel 37:3)
We are living in an historical moment in time, but it is starting to get old. At first, many of us were running on adrenaline. That lasted for about two weeks. Now, two months later, the fatigue has become chronic and people’s ability to function is getting impaired. I talked to a worker in a long-term care home this past week and they mentioned that they are seeing an increase in the number of cases of depression (and higher consumption of candy bars) among residents.
We cannot keep going like this. Let’s pause for a moment and be still before God.
God knows our plight better than we do, and in his mercy and grace, he has sent his Spirit to live in and with us. Though the human life force is strong, it is no match for life in this broken realm of Covid-19, human frailty and death. We were always meant to live with God’s Spirit. The Spirit of God was hovering over the waters as the Father sang the world into being through the Son. The Spirit gifted people in ancient times to be leaders, musicians, craftsmen and builders.
The word sometimes used in ancient times when people, were filled with the Holy Spirit was “anointed.” The picture that goes with this word is the practice of pouring olive oil over the head of people who were set apart by God for a special task. For example, in 1 Samuel 16:13, ”So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David….”
Jesus is the Messiah, the anointed One. In Greek, the word for Messiah is Christ. In Luke 4, as he read from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah, Jesus proclaimed his mission: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19) Did you notice the starting point for Jesus’ mission? It began with the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus is the divine Son of God wrapped in human flesh and yet he still needed the Holy Spirit to do the work that his Father called him to do. It is no different for us, in fact, our need for the Spirit is greater. So, we can be thankful that Jesus opened the door for us to a relationship with God by going to the cross, suffering and dying and rising again. Through that same open door, the Father has poured out on us his Holy Spirit to revive our tired, lifeless dry bones and lead us into a new way of living where we walk in step with the Spirit, following his direction in the wisdom and strength that he gives us.
For some of us, the pressures of Covid-19 mean that we are no longer able to do the things that we used to do because we don’t have the capacity right now. We may need to step back and ask the Spirit to help us do some pruning in our life. It hurts to prune, but Spirit-directed will help us to be more fruitful in the future.
Remember, you have been anointed with the Holy Spirit in your Holy Baptism. You were meant to live life with the Spirit in his wisdom, strength and love. Jesus has made you a beloved, forgiven child of God and the Spirit is with you.
Dear Holy Spirit, we need you. Our best efforts on our own lead to exhaustion. Please come and give life to our lifeless dry bones. Amen.