Have you found yourself in a hopeful, new relationship, and yet the mistakes of your past relationships still haunt you? Have you taken a new job but do not feel qualified? Have you tried to forgive those who have hurt you, but a past heartache still holds you tight?
God of hope, help me drop the burdens of my past that keep me from living freely and fully into the life you offer. 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?
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