The psalmist reminds me of the prophet Habakkuk, who stands at his watchpost and declares, “I will watch to see what [God] will say” (2:1). Not, “I will listen to hear what God will say.” Not, “I will watch to see what God will do.” The prophet watches for God’s voice; he uses his eyes for listening. Similarly, the psalmist prays, “Listen to my words, and I will watch for your answer” (ap).
In both Psalm 130 and Habakkuk 2, eyes do the work of ears and ears do the work of eyes. It’s a confusion of senses, an apparent reorganization of how the body works. Yet it reminds us that faith, like the body, cannot be separated into parts. Just like the eyes need the ears and the body needs the voice, prayer needs work, proclamation needs meditation, and mercy needs fellowship. Mind, body, and spirit cooperate to perceive God.
I confess that I often separate my senses and perceptions when I seek God. I ask for a sign to give me hope, and I watch for that sign so intently in the world around me that I miss the song of hope my ears receive in Sunday worship. I raise my hands and pray that God will lift me up from the depths, and I focus so much on waiting with patience for God’s rescue and relief to fill my spirit that I fail to recognize the comfort of companions who travel along the same deep road. I cry to God for the long night of God’s silence to end. I long so intently for any sound or sigh in God’s voice that I neglect to feel the warmth of dawn on my skin as the sun rises in the east.
We often separate our minds, bodies, and spirits on the journey of faith; but God welcomes and loves us as whole people.
Help me watch for your words and listen for your actions, O God. Help me wait for you with my body, mind, and spirit together. Amen.
Ezekiel sets the stage for the readings this week. In a vision, the prophet sees a seemingly hopeless situation, yet God restores flesh to the bones and brings them back to life by breathing into them. The psalmist calls out to God from the depths of devastation and waits confidently for God’s redemption. Paul plays off the double meaning of the Greek word pneuma: “breath” and “spirit.” Just as Ezekiel’s dry bones are brought back through the breath of God, so are we raised through the Spirit of God. The Lazarus story provides a bookend resurrection story for the week. Here Jesus demonstrates in the physical realm the spiritual realities described in the other passages. These resurrection stories point us toward Jesus’ resurrection and ultimately the promise of our own.
Read Ezekiel 37:1-14. When have you heard from God directly or through others in times of devastation? How did you respond?
Read Psalm 130. How can you listen for signs of hope and look for God’s voice?
Read Romans 8:6-11. What helps you remember that you cannot save yourself and to put your trust in God?
Read John 11:1-45. When have you been disappointed in God’s timing or response? What would be different now if God had met your expectations then?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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