Summary: A sermon about hope.
“The Leg Bone’s Connected to the Knee Bone…”
By: Rev. Ken Sauer, Pastor of Grace United Methodist Church, Soddy Daisy, TN www.graceumcsd.org
In the year 597 B.C. Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians.
Eighteen year old King Jehoichin, who had only been King for three months, was forced to surrender and was taken captive to Babylonia along with the brightest and the best of the nation.
Ezekiel, a young priest-in-training was part of the exile.
And Jerusalem stood under the yoke of the Babylonian Empire.
Sounds a bit like the beginning to Star Wars.
Anyhow, it was a very difficult time in Israel’s history.
The exiles were a very unhappy people.
War and political conflict had uprooted them from their native soil and transplanted them to a strange land.
All grounds for hope had been lost and plundered.
There was no end in sight.
Many think that Ezekiel was in Judah during the last struggle against Babylon, and so there is nothing to keep us from interpreting the Valley of the Dry Bones as an actual battlefield.
And on this very spot—the nation’s hopes had been dashed.
Now, as Ezekiel looks out over the scene, with the bones of people who were not given a proper burial scattered all over the valley, he is hit hard by the desperate situation of his people.
What will the future hold?
Will there be any future?
It doesn’t look like it.
In Ezekiel’s vision, the Spirit of the Lord led him among the bones of the Israelites on the valley floor.
“They were scattered everywhere across the ground and were completely dried out.”
A modern-day Ezekiel might be taken to Darfur where there are the bones of burned villages.
In our own land we still find the bones of slaves and Native Americans.
But we don’t have to look across the world or back in time to see bones in a sea of trouble.
A modern-day Ezekiel may be taken to Any Town, USA, where the local businesses are dried up and the next generation is exiled to another land.
He might walk down the streets in certain neighborhoods, looking at foreclosed homes.
There are millions of places where the prophet could be taken today.
Just look where we live—this community, this country, this world!
We see kids carrying guns to school…to school of all places!!!
And in many instances they are using them on their own classmates!!!
What causes them to do this?
At such young ages, have they found that there is nothing worth believing in—nothing worth living for?
Do they have no hope?
What have we done to our children?
Is it any wonder they have no respect for us?
If you are 40 or over try and think back to your own childhood…
…were kids packing automatic weapons—killing their classmates and themselves?
Was that even a remote possibility?
Who would have imagined we’d have days like these?
What has happened to hope?
In a world where children…
…children have been sexualized…
…older adults have been sexualized as they grasp with all their money and might for the fountain of youth…
…where is the moral depth?
…where is the humanity?
…where is reality?
…where is the hope?
Everyday, we see men, women, boys and girls—deteriorated physically, spiritually, and morally.
We see despair, depression, hunger, and homelessness.
We see children walking the streets, orphans and widows not being cared for.
On the t-v news or on the newspaper racks we see an endless war, daily bloodshed, extortion, and so much corruption that it may well cause us to look up to God and wonder, “Can these bones live?”
There are some who have chosen to serve at the altar of the gods of wealth and power and have lost their souls.
There are those who have been abused, neglected, forgotten and are suffering all kinds of hardships…many of them are little less than breathing corpses.
There are kids on dope.
There are crack houses, gang members, heroine fiends, broken homes, people living with HIV/AIDS.
There are folks whose lives have been written off by society as being disposable…
…there are so many situations that seem absolutely hopeless…
Perhaps, in your own lives or in your own homes you are currently experiencing a loss of hope.
Perhaps in your neighborhood, you see folks moving without the spark of life in their eyes.
It’s may be a bit like Dawn of the Living Dead!
There seems to be no end in sight; no grounds for hope!
But wait a minute!
Wait just one minute.
This has happened before.
… the bones “were scattered everywhere across the ground and were completely dried out.”
Then God asked Ezekiel, “Son of man, can these bones become living people again?”
And with that the spark burst forth…