Minnesota Episcopal Environmental Stewardship Commission (MEESC)

Episcopal Church in Minnesota
Shield of Episcopal Church

Upcoming Activities:

Next Meeting:

We meet quarterly close to the solstice and equinox.

Annual Special Projects


Resolution on the Spirituality of Food Production

Resolution on Church Buildings and Grounds

Resolution on Creation Season

Resolution on Green Congregations

Lectionary Reflection

Year A, Lent 5 Standard (Episcopal) Lectionary Revised Common Lectionary Old Testament (Hebrew Scripture) Lesson

Ezekiel 37: 1-3 (4-10) 11-14 (Standard) Ezekiel 37: 1-14 (RCL)

The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. He said to me, "Mortal, can these bones live?" I answered, "O Lord GOD, you know." [Then he said to me, "Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord."

So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, "Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord GOD: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live." I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.]

Then he said to me, "Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, `Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.' Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act," says the Lord.


Reflection on Ezekiel 37: 1-14 by Nan Stokes

Ezekiel tells that the hand and the spirit of the Lord set him down in the middle of a valley full of bones. The account of that experience in the Old Testament reading for this Fifth Sunday of Lent brings to mind the Creation of the first man told in Genesis. After the sinews and the flesh and the skin come upon the bones, the Lord God says, "I will put breath in you and you shall live", and then is added, "and you shall know that I am the Lord." Ezekiel is part of this creation and prophesies as he is commanded, so the bones come together with a noise and a rattling. The breath comes from the four winds and the bones become a vast multitude � the whole house of Israel. The scene is surreal and more than a little frightening, but it also brings to mind the spiritual about those "dry bones", and the music is familiar and singable.

So we have come full circle since Ash Wednesday, when we were reminded that we were but dust, and now we know what the Lord can do with a pile of bones and dust we can live and be part of the Lord's vast multitude. And always we shall know that "I am the Lord," and that knowledge will sustain us in our Lent.

Printable version

To Reflections on other Readings for Year A, Lent 5:

Reflections available at the active links
Standard (Episcopal) Lectionary
Revised Common Lectionary
Old Testament (Hebrew Scripture) Reading:
Ezekiel 37: 1-3(4-10)11-14 (this page)
Ezekiel 37: 1-14 (this page)
New Testament Lesson
Romans 6: 16-23
Romans 8: 6-11
John 11: (1-17) 18-44
John 11: 1-45

Nan Stokes (1929-2010), a past co-chair of MEESC (2002-2006), was an active member of St. Edward's Episcopal Church, Duluth, MN, when she originally wrote this reflection in 1999. We welcome your comments. Please address your comments or additional reflections to our WebVerger or any MEESC member, or mail them to:

MEESC c/o C. Morello 4451 Lakeside Drive Eveleth, MN 55743-4400 USA

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