Pastor Tony's Sermon May 20, 2018

Can these Bones live?     5-20-18      Pentecost and Dedication of Landscaping            

·        Council—what would a movie look like of this script?

o   Alvin Ailey dance

o   Zombies

o   Dem Bones, Dem Bones, Dem dry bones

o   And the most profound was setting it during the Holocaust.


Mortal, can these bones live?

Only you know, O God.


o   This valley of dry bones may have been a battlefield.

o   It may have been a mass grave, with the bodies left to dry out

o   Ezekiel may have been a warrior with PTSD

o   He lived through the destruction of his home—Jerusalem, and his church—The Temple

o   He endured the forced march of the Exiles some 500 miles to Babylon

o   He has flashbacks and hallucinations

o   He envisions a lifeless mass grave, and the life that can come from it, as a metaphor for his beloved homeland

o   It is a story of the Spirit bringing life where the was death, healing where there was brokenness, peace where there was genocide and war. And it is a story of a peaceful quiet cemetery suddenly coming to life with the cacophony of life, those who died from violence and war becoming an army fighting for justice and peace.


Mortal, can these bones live?

Only you know, O God.

·        Today is Pentecost, the day we celebrate as the birth of the church.

o   We tell the story of the early church--a diverse group of multi-lingual persons—who gathered to worship;

o   when the Holy Spirit blew through, they began to hear each other, understand, in their native tongues.

o    It’s a story of a group of people deep in grief from the death of their leader, Jesus,

o   a story of a church in chaos,

o   a story of chaos of wind blowing through the space, maybe slamming doors shut, blowing leaves and paper and clothes around

o   a story of that out of chaos can come understanding, calm, and a new church.

Mortal, can these bones live?

Only you know, O God.

·        The church today might have a similar question: can these bones live?

(Only you know, O God.)

Can this structure, these Boards and Committees, these buildings and grounds live?

Yes, dry bones, listen to the Spirit,

who breathes breath where there once was only death

Listen to the Spirit, who plants gardens where weeds and invasive species once grew

Listen to the Spirit, who blows fresh winds into stale rooms, who brings refugees home, releases captives, and brings justice and peace where there was once only war.

O Mortal, Can this church live?

o   Look around you. what do you see?

o   What has changed in the last few weeks?

o   What once was A skeletal garden, overgrown with ivy, is now alive with native plants.

·        We celebrate this. We dedicate this. We pronounce it good.

·        And also look at the cracked cement,  the worn deck, the retaining wall struggling to retain it all.

Mortal, can these bones live?

Only you know, O God.

·        In this garden of life, made possible by the death of a beloved friend, Jill Bryans, Life returns, Bringing breath, bringing its own kind of chaos, and its own kind of peace.

·        It is new, a new spirit, a cold wind, blowing through this place. Do you feel it?

·        It brings understanding in our native languages.

·        It brings peace where there has been chaos, and yes, it may bring some chaos where there was once the silent dry bones of a cemetery.

Mortal, can these bones live?

Only you know, O God.

Dry bones: listen; God will put breath into you. God will put ligaments and tendons on these dry bones. God will add some muscles, some nerves, and blood vessels, and a few internal organs. New life, which brings its own peace and its own chaos. Grandchildren who have minds and bodies of their own, who desire things that you don’t even know about, who sing a different tune, and whose points of view are so radically different than yours. They speak a different language filled with words like Tweet, and Instagram, Facebook, and on-line bullying; and yet the Holy Spirit will blow through and we will hear in our own native language, bringing us fresh life. Come Holy Spirit Come.

Mortal, can these bones live?

Only you know, O God.