God brings dry bones to life.
A package of uncooked Macaroni
This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. Ezekiel 37:5 (NIV)
Yum, Yum! Look what I have...macaroni! I love macaroni, don't you? Would you like a taste of my macaroni? (Offer the children some of your dry, uncooked macaroni.) This doesn't look quite like the macaroni that my mom used to make. I wonder if it tastes good. (Eat one piece of macaroni.) Hmm...it seems to be missing something -- what do you think it needs? Well, for one thing, this macaroni hasn't been cooked. The first thing we need to do is to put it in some water and boil it on top of the stove until it becomes soft and tender. Next we need to drain the water off and add some other things to make it taste good. We need to add a little milk and some cheese and stir it all together. Then we'll put it in the oven and bake it for about 20 minutes. That will really make this dry, tasteless macaroni really come to life.
This dry macaroni reminds me of a story in the Bible. It is the story of the prophet Ezekiel. God took Ezekiel and showed him a valley that was filled with dry bones. They were scattered all around and there was no life in them. God spoke to Ezekiel and asked him, "Can these bones live again?"
Well, Ezekiel didn't know what to say. "O LORD," he said, "only you know the answer to that."
Then God spoke to Ezekiel and said, "Speak to these bones and say to them, 'Dry bones, listen to the word of the LORD! This is what the LORD says: Look! I am going to put flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you and you will come to life.'"
So Ezekiel spoke the message just as God told him. As he spoke, there was a rattling noise across the valley and the bones came together and formed complete skeletons. Then muscles and flesh formed over the bones and skin covered their bodies. Finally, the winds came and filled the bodies with breath and they came alive!
Look at this macaroni again -- it is dry and hard and not very good at all. It looks like nothing can help it - nothing good can come of it. But we know better, don't we? We know that if we boil it for ten minutes and add some milk and cheese, we will have something very good indeed.
That's the way it is when we face something that is very hard in our lives. Sometimes it is hard to think that anything good can happen -- that everything is like it was in the valley of dry bones. But just as we know that this macaroni can become very good, we know that the hard things in our life can become a lot better. Just as God brought life to the valley of dry bones with the breath of his Holy Spirit , God can make bad things better in our lives too. And he will - when we trust him for it. That is what the gospel of Jesus Christ is all about.
Let us pray. Heavenly Father, sometimes we face hard things and life seems hopeless. Help us to remember the lesson of the dry bones. If you can make dry bones live again, you can make something good out of the hard things in our life. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.
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