Sunday 26th March 2023 - 5th Sunday in Lent
Ezekiel 37:1-14, Psalm 130, Romans 8:6-11, John11:1-45
A recurring theme is this week's readings is Resurrection. We might imagine that the valley in which Ezekiel encounters the dry bones is the site of a previous battle, probably a defeat for his people. This idea is strengthened when we recognise that the bones re-assemble to become an army. Yet the military solution has failed, and God's message is that the restoration which they crave will not come about through human strength but divine intervention. We might pray therefore for negotiators, mediators and peace-keepers who are seeking to bring stability and safety in parts of the world where there is threat of war and violence. We too might recognise the importance of our prayers, if peace and restoration depends upon God and not human solutions.
There may not be those in our society who would describe their role as raising the dead, but there will be life-savers: those who work in rescue services, medical professionals, relief workers even blood donors and those who work for the blood transfusion service. We might also pray for those whose work is centred around death and bereavement.
The language of the tomb and the pit resonates with being buried within the darkness of the earth. There is a natural connection with those who work in mining, tunnelling etc. The echoes of death within these passages serve to remind us that these are some of the most dangerous and life threatening occupations in our world. In 2010 the historic rescue of a group of Chilean Mine workers was something that caused great celebration and many were the claims that this was nothing short of a miracle. Yet we also remember that in any given year, mining, tunnelling and other hazardous occupations claim the lives of workers. Not everyone who "cried to the Lord out of the depths" is rescued.