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September 15

Ezekiel 37, 4-6

Something to read

Then he said to me, ‘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.’

New Revised Standard Version

To read the King James Version, click here

Something to think about

The prophet’s answer to the question “Can these bones live?” did not express any kind of pious hope nor an outright denial. Instead, in admitting the power of God alone over matters of life and death, he is unwittingly making himself available for the next stage in the drama, as God says to him in no uncertain terms, “you do it”.

The actions that the prophet is to announce will follow in the same order and he seems to be little more than a go-between, relaying God’s intentions. So why was the prophet needed at all? While the answer to that does not become fully clear until the parable is interpreted, the prophet’s willingness to be involved is surely being tested.

There are some big questions to which we might well feel that the only answer lies with God and a wisdom that it is not given to us to understand. But there’s always the possibility that God will respond to our confession of impotence and ignorance with a similar instruction. Can poverty be ended? Will God answer: “Only I know that”? Or the answer might just possibly be, “You do it and I’ll show you how”.

Something to do

Add a little more to what you did yesterday!

Something to pray

Lord, when we take refuge in the plea that you alone know the answer, forgive us for the times when we fail to recognise that we are the answer.

Today's contributor is the Rev Dr Paula Clifford, a former Head of Theology for Christian Aid, now Vicar of Minster Lovell in the Anglican Oxford Diocese, and Oxford Deanery Mission Enabler.

 

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