Ever Since Easter: New Days for Old Ways – No Idle Tale, These Bones Shall Live!

Here’s the thing… we just have to say. It’s Easter! As surely as last Sunday. Christ is Risen! ‘Risen indeed! Easter’s not a day, but a season. In fact, not just a season, but a whole new life experience, all day, every day. Every Sunday is actually designated, A Little Easter (Show black book)! Yet, so many of our days don’t feel like Easter days. ‘Dark, difficult, seemingly lifeless. ‘Spiritual wastelands… virtual valleys of dry bones. Old Ezekiel the Prophet knew it, felt it, spoke it, 500+ years before Jesus. And the women and the 11 knew it, not 500 minutes after Mary and the women went out to that Garden on the first Easter morn.

If last week was Holy Week, this was an ungodly week! We lived in a virtual valley of dry bones. That’s where Tornados turn the terrain topsy turvey and toss lives into limp lumps of loss and pain. We could call the roll of trials and tribulations, wounds and woes right in this room [J/JG, RH, OB, LA, FRH] But maybe we ought not. Better to ask, what in you is bone-dry? Parched? In your family, school, friendships; purse, pocket, job or judgment? That old prophet Ezekiel spoke and wrote to a people booted from their homeland, enslaved by their captors, perplexed by promises they had heard from God and from which they had been exiled in their everyday lives. Some of us get out of our own beds every morning yet feel homeless by breakfast. Increasingly, we work against-our-will for the cost of a week’s worth of gas. And by Tuesday, we wonder whatever happened to the help and hope we heard on Sunday. SOOO… we’d better listen up.  We wanna hear the sounds of bones a rattlin’. O, to feel the breeze begin to rise! ‘Not from some sorrow-filled twister. No, we pray for the sighs of the Spirit of Christ. We Resurrection People desire the stir of grace beyond measure.

Ezekiel has his vision; we have our angels, ever since Mary and her faith-sisters stepped out t’ward the tomb. Our angels still ask, “Do you remember how he told you, while still in Galilee, that the Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinners, be crucified, and on the third day rise?” They remembered. Do we?  And what do we make of these repeated reports that God has raised up Jesus from the dead? Will we simply discount them as idle tales? Permit me a few pointers.  A few little lessons on leaning forward into the resurrection, rather than backing away. What the prophet heard and the women saw can guide us. ‘Especially when these bone-weary, spirit-dry days wanna leach the life out of us. ‘Or leave us believing that not even God can outdo what is dead in us, much less death itself.

Just 5 little lessons, 1 for each day of the week.

  • Monday: Go and stand where you can’t stand to go! Zeke has to go down into the Valley. The women have to go up to the Tomb. Where must you go? All Scripture and I are saying is you really can’t run away, so you don’t have to. Engage your troubles. Look your demons in the eye. Face your frustrations. (Even if they have family names!) No place you’re gonna stand will God in Christ not stand with you.
  • Tuesday: Remember to go with open ears, open eyes, and hands prepared to hold onto holy things. Prophets and early-rising women alike teach us. Keep your eyes and ears open. Literally: watch out; listen up. Whatever bums you out/winds you up tight, God’s got surrounded. God’ll give you a new way to see it: Zeke never expected to see the valley quite like this. God grant you an unexpected Word to hear: “Mary, why do you seek the living among the dead?” Come to your day, even a dreaded day (like you got to “embalm Jesus”) prepared to give God and give Christ honor. (Come like you’ve got spices in your hands!) It will make all the difference!
  • Wednesday: Travel with the Word. Seek the company of the faithful. I hate speaking clichés. But repeating great truths is an occupational hazard. Ezekiel heard God because he already knew his voice! He’d immersed himself in the Word/Bible, even when most had turned away. (Times too bad; work days overwhelming; too many competing news networks… just like our day!) Mary didn’t go to Jesus alone. Even on Easter. She took church with her. Friends, why would we try to be faithful with less help than the prophets and the saints?
  • Thursday: Don’t focus on the messenger. Focus on the message. Don’t get fascinated by the bones you see out there every day. The dry and the dead. Don’t get hung up on what angels really look like, or how they get around. (I’ve seen plenty. They look just like, well… YOU!) Oh no, focus on the faith-message: God can and will breathe life into what is dead in your life. God will resurrect YOU, as surely, as certainly, as God’s Son Jesus Christ.
  • Friday: Trust the Spirit without expecting the spectacle. (It may be as simple as skin and bone or bread and cup.) These Bible accounts we read seem pretty spectacular sometimes. They read like the Royal Wedding appeared before our eyes. But I was struck by a spoken word at the Abbey on Friday. “All weddings are royal, especially in the company of Christ the King!” We don’t need an Amazing Vision like Ezekiel. God breathes Holy breath into the flesh and bone of the saints in this room to show us Hope-is-Real and Help-is-Coming! We don’t need Inside Edition or the ladies on The View or Eye Witness News at an empty tomb to tell us death is swallowed up in victory. All we need is a table, a loaf and a cup, actually to experience the living presence of Christ in our lives. Redeeming. Renewing. Resurrecting.

What the voice said to the Prophet and the Angels to the women, the risen Christ says to us… today!!! Your bones shall live! I will meet you, just as I said. I will come again and take you to myself… so where I am you will be also!!! Sure enough, it’s EASTER. For us, it’s EASTER EVERY DAY WE BELIEVE!

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