THE FIRST LESSON: Ezekiel 37:1-14
The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord.”
So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.
Then he said to me, “Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.’ Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act, says the Lord.”
Word of God, word of life. Thanks be to God.
PSALM 104:24–34, 35b
How manifold are your works, O LORD! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.
Yonder is the sea, great and wide, with its swarms too many to number, living things
both small and great.
There go the ships to and fro, and Leviathan, which you made for the sport of it.
All of them look to you to give them their food in due season.
You give it to them; they gather it; you open your hand, and they are filled with good things.
When you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their breath, they die
and return to their dust.
You send forth your Spirit, and they are created; and so you renew the face of the earth.
May the glory of the LORD endure forever; O LORD, rejoice in all your works.
You look at the earth and it trembles; you touch the mountains and they smoke.
I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will praise my God while I have my being.
May these words of mine please God. I will rejoice in the LORD.
Bless the LORD, O my soul. Hallelujah!
SECOND READING: Romans 8:22–27
We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Word of God, word of life. Thanks be to God.
GOSPEL HYMN “Wind, Wind”