Today we continue to focus our prayers on the Coronavirus pandemic exploring the significance of breath in a time of death.
Today we are going to reflect on Ezekiel in the valley of dry bones, standing in aplace of death and devastation, confronting a situation of total despair with nothing but the Word of the Lord.
[The Lord] said to me, ‘Prophecy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.”’ So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet – a vast army.
Then he said to me: ‘Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, “Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.” Therefore, prophesy and say to them: “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.” Ezekiel 37:9-14
We know that the Coronavirus spreads extensively through coughing, sneezing and breathing and that it attacks the lungs. We are warned to maintain a two-metre distance from one another and to avoid breathing in close proximity for any length of time. We must wear a face covering on public transport to avoid breathing over others.
Breath is a powerful metaphor in the Bible for life and the Holy Spirit. In Genesis 2:7, God makes Adam by breathing into his nostrils. In John 20:22, Jesus breathes upon his disciples and says ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’. And here in this story, Ezekiel prophesies breath into countless corpses turning the Valley of Dry Bones into the Valley of Resurrection.
I am acutely aware that the Enemy wants to attack my breath, why don’t you take a few deep defiant breaths now in God’s presence, consciously exhaling fear, quietly receiving his Spirit afresh into my body, rejoicing that the breath of God brings hope not harm, health not sickness and life to the full.
Today, I am going to pray for those in my local hospital right now using ventilators, for those desperately needing ventilators and for those who are having to wear personal protective equipment to be able to carry out their job. That God would protect each breath that they take. Lord, we cry out to you in the words of Ezekiel ‘put your Spirit in these people that they might live.’
Father, help me to live this day to the full, being true to You, in every way.
Jesus, help me to give myself away to others, being kind to everyone I meet.
Spirit, help me to love the lost, proclaiming Christ in all I do and say. Amen