Dry bones come to life
by Roger Gench
Sunday, MARCH 7, 2021
For the next three days, we will pray with Scripture that can help us reflect on our graced histories — that is, on your personal history of light (special experiences of God’s presence, love and justice), your personal history of shadows (doubts, questions, reflections of brokenness and sin), and your history of light out of shadows (compassion and insight out of pain and disorder, isolation).
Practice: Pray Psalm 23 with special attention to your light history — that is, to experiences of God’s presence in your life (experiences of love, care, hope, justice). Gently sift through your light history from your childhood to the present, moment noting varied experiences of God’s presence along the way.
Journal: Sketch in your journal as much of this personal history of light as possible.
Monday, MARCH 8, 2021
Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones can help us reflect on the shadows in our personal histories.
Practice: Read today’s passage and imagine surveying the dry bones of your life story – that is, times of suffering, betrayal or lost relations – times when you were keenly aware of your own brokenness and that of the world. Gently sift through your shadow history from your childhood to present, noting varied experiences of brokenness along the way.
Journal: Sketch in your journal as much of your personal history of brokenness as possible.
Tuesday, MARCH 9, 2021
Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones can also help us ponder our personal history of light out of shadows.
Practice: As you pray with today’s vision from Ezekiel, imagine the breath of God infusing the dry bones of your life. Remember the times when you sensed hope, justice or love emerging from the difficult moments of your life. Gently sift through your light out of shadows history from childhood to the present, noting varied experiences of God’s presence along the way.
Journal: Sketch in your journal as much of this personal history of light out of shadows as possible.
Wednesday, MARCH 10, 2021
Jesus’ parable of the sower in Mark 4 prompts reflection on how we have responded differently – and at varied times in our lives – to the gospel. The seed from the sower falls in varied places: on the path, the rocky ground, among the thorns and into good soil. If time and interest allows, you might also read Jesus’ interpretation of the parable of the sower in Mark 4:13-20.
Practice: Read Mark 4:1-9 slowly and prayerfully, and imagine that you are part of this scene, observing the sower of seeds. Imagine
the seeds falling in varied places or situations in your life. What circumstances come to mind, and what thoughts or emotions emerge as you consider your own life story in conversation with this parable?
Journal: Note in your journal what emerged as you prayed with this Scripture.
Thursday, MARCH 11, 2021
The figure in this “Servant Song” from Isaiah 42 is generally thought to represent the people of Israel who are called by God to bring forth justice among the nations. Note especially the powerful image of how the servant goes about the work of justice: “a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench.”
Practice: Prayerfully read these verses two or three times, noting the images that shimmer for you and the reflection they evoke.
Journal: Write in your journal of movements toward God or away from God that emerge into view.
Friday, MARCH 12, 2021
This passage at the heart of Philippians has been described as Paul’s “master story” of God and the world. As such, note how the text presents God’s movement toward us — a movement of decidedly “downward mobility” in which God’s own self is emptied in Christ in order to transform, redeem and liberate the world. This divine movement of love toward the world, in the world, with the world, and for the world is the very power of God.
Practice: Prayerfully read this text several times, noting the images that shine for you.
Journal: Write in you journal of movement toward God or away from God that you discern.
Saturday, MARCH 13, 2021
The story of Jesus’ baptism in the wilderness is an occasion on which to remember our own baptisms — even if we were infants at the time and were scarcely aware of what was happening. Mark tells us that when Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were “ripped apart” — they did not simply “open,” because something that opens
can close. The heavens were ripped apart, which is to say that reality was irreparably altered as a fissure in the heavens appeared — a permanent elimination of the boundary between heaven and earth. God’s Spirit, in other words, is loose in the world and in our lives.
Practice: Pray this Scripture with special attention to the powerful images in this text, and as you ponder Jesus’ baptism, also remember your own. Imagine God’s voice identifying and claiming you as a beloved child of God and the vision of the heavens ripped apart. Reflect on the significance of these revelatory events for Jesus’ life, your own life and the life of the world.
Journal: Note in your journal what emerges in your prayerful reflection on Jesus’ baptism and your own.
*These devotions were purchased from the “Presbyterian Outlook” for the use of the IPC congregation, and are not available for wide-spread reproduction. If you would like to use this devotional in your church, please visit: