Today’s reading from Ezekiel (37:1-14) concerned the bringing to life of the dry bones
I guess we all know - well, most of us anyway - know about dry bones. There’s plenty here that know about dry bones aren’t there. They’re not very helpful when it comes to moving about - dry bones just want to lie there.
But today we’ve been shown that even dry bones are not beyond the power of the Lord. As they sing in that old Negro spiritual ’Dem bones, Dem bones, gonna walk around’. Don’t worry - I’m not going to sing it.
Let us come to the Lord in prayer.
Lord, we bring to you our prayers, and our dry bones. We pray that you will breathe life into us, as you did to those other dry bones.
The Foot bone.
Lord, when our feet follow their own way rather than yours, forgive us and bring us back to the divine path. When we fail to run with the Spirit, preferring to rest at the side of the road, forgive us and spur us into action. When we become more obsessed with the soles of our shoes rather than our immortal souls, forgive us, and fill us with the Holy Spirit.
We pray that we will walk unswervingly in the footsteps of Jesus - wherever he takes us. We pray for the dedication to follow him undistracted by life’s false candy coating, and the lure of the superficial.
And, Lord, we pray for all those who have wandered away from you. For those who have been hurt by the Church, breathe fresh life into their faith. For those who have been seduced by Twenty-First century glitz, shine your light into their lives. And for those who have yet to know you, send down the Spirit of love into their hearts.
And we pray for the lonely everywhere. For those living on their own without family or friends, and for those living with family and friends, but who are still desperately disconnected and lonely.
The Foot bone’s connected to the leg bone.
Lord, we thank you for our legs. They lift us, they support us. They allow us to run to the aid of those in need, to walk in the sunshine of your love, and to dance in your glory. When we cannot support ourselves, be our support. When we are reluctant to move with the spirit, prod us forward. When we feel unable to stand up for what is right, give us the strength to do so. When we are weak kneed in the face of evil, make our hearts and our determination strong.
We pray that we will run to your calling, not from it. We pray that we will take time to walk in the paradise that we call earth, and bathe our tired bones in the wonders of your creation.
And, Lord, we pray for all those who cannot get about so easily. For those with arthritis, or osteoporosis or broken bones. We pray for the frail, and the fatigued. May their spirits soar even though their bodies are grounded.
The leg bone’s connected to the hipbone. The hipbone’s connected to the back bone
Lord, sometimes we are a bit like jellyfish, and you must wonder what we have done with the backbone you gave us. Help us to stand up for what is right, to be courageous in the face of adversity. Give us the strength to carry the Cross of Jesus wherever it is your will to take us.
We pray that we might work tirelessly in helping others for your glory. That we will stand tall as your people like beacons to all who seek your light.
And, Lord, we pray for who are in need of our care. Be there for them, support them, warm them in your love.
The back bone’s connected to the shoulder bone
Lord, help us to shoulder the responsibilities thrown upon us. Help us to be responsible rather than irresponsible for our own actions. We find it easy to complain about or to condemn the actions of others, but often do nothing to change the situation. We feel sorry for those who have lost their employment or who are struggling through hard times but are not always quick to give of ourselves to help them.
We pray that we might lift others from their despair, and take the weight of their troubles on our shoulders. We pray for the strength to take on their worries and the generosity to forgive the debts of the poor.
And, Lord, we pray for all those who care for others. Give them strength, stamina, endless patience and your immeasurable support as they struggle with others’ problems.
The shoulder bone’s connected to the neck bone
Lord we do not often stick our neck out. We hold our tongues rather than say things that might be unpopular. We are afraid of moving out of our comfort zone, preferring the false security of our own box to the world in which we are called to live. We like to ’fit in’ with everyone else - it seems easier.
We pray that we can develop the courage to say ’No’ when everyone else says ’Yes’. We pray that we might call for peace when all else calls for war; that we might offer love to a world consumed with hate; that we might show forgiveness instead of revenge.
And, Lord, we pray for all those who are suffering from injustice, prejudice or disinterest - victims of war, famine, terrorism, earthquakes, floods and poverty. We pray that they can transform their disasters into a greater and deeper faith in you, and turn aside from the paths of revenge, depression and misery.
The neck bone’s connected to the brain bone.
Sometimes we seem to have all bone and no brain. We forget that you are a God who thought us worth dying for. We respond in anger instead of patience, in self-interest instead of love. We will not be led by the Spirit, but would follow the unholy dollar into oblivion.
We pray that we might abandon our worldly obsession, for you. That we might bring You into our world and transform it, and not the other way around.
Lord, If we sing hymns yet there is no melody in our hearts, breathe life into our dry bone of a brain.
Lord, If our prayers are just words rather than a conversation with You, breathe life into our dry bone of a brain.
Lord, If our actions betray our self interest rather than our love for you, breathe life into our dry bone of a brain.
We pray, Lord, especially for the health, and wellbeing of those around us - our brothers and sisters in Christ. We pray for (insert names here)
And I’d like to put in a plug here, Lord, for the young bones - for children and youth everywhere. May they always be loved, cared for and protected.
Lord, breathe life into our old dry bones that we may live anew in Jesus.