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FROM DRY BONES TO NEW LIFE

Sometimes the prophet Ezekiel’s account of the valley of the dry bones can sound uncomfortably like a drought-like time in our own spiritual growth. There can be periods in our relationship with God when God seems absent, or at least elusive; when praying feels like drudgery, and when the spiritual gifts that usually give us joy feel as if they have gone flat. Our natural reaction is to question ourselves and to wonder what we are doing wrong.

It is comforting to learn that even the saints have experienced these dry times and that they are a normal part of spiritual growth. It is helpful to remember that God is always with us, whether or not we can feel God’s presence.

Thomas Merton was an eminent Trappist monk, an author of great spiritual books, a correspondent with the major thinkers and leaders of his day, and very much involved in the ecumenical movement until his death. And yet he wrote the following prayer:

I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.  Amen.

This is a prayer to hang onto when the going gets rough.

I also find a prayer by Dag Hammarskjold, the United Nations Secretary General in the 1950’s, and also the author of a spiritual journal called Markings, a good reminder:

Author of the world’s joy,
Bearer of the world’s pain;
at the heart of all our distress
let unconquerable gladness dwell.
To see you is the end and the beginning.
You carry me and you go before.
You are the journey and the journey’s end.

Let God carry you through your dry time, remembering the outcome of the story of the dry bones. Trust God always, as Thomas Merton says. Ezekiel prophesies to the dry bones as God instructs him. They become clothed with living flesh and become breathing, animated people.

This happens with our spirits. When we emerge from our dry time —  and we do — we will find that this seemingly unproductive episode in our relationship with God has actually been a time of unconscious growth, leading us into new blessings and spiritual vitality.

LOOKING AHEAD

Our weekly Wednesday Eucharists at noon will continue through the Fall and, God willing, into the end of the year. Everyone is welcome to come as you are and to stay for a delicious lunch and cheerful fellowship. For everyone’s safety, we continue to stay abreast of pandemic precautions as they apply to our area.

Our Second Wednesday Conversations also will be continuing. Recently we have been focusing upon prayer and all the many different ways that there are to pray. These take place right after lunch, from 1:30 – 2:30PM, and we try to begin and end on time. Each Conversation is different, so please do come and join in, even if you may have missed previous discussions.

With best wishes for a healthy and growthful Fall,  Elizabeth+
(the Rev. Elizabeth Gillett, Chaplain)

Posted by quaadmin