2020 Nave Pilgrimage Sermon

 

Pilgrimage Opportunities to the Restored Nave

(in the midst of a global pandemic)

Ezekiel 37:1-14

 

 

In the Name of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

God places the Prophet Ezekiel in a field of dry bones. The bones are long dead; the breath of life has long departed. God tells Ezekiel that the bones can live again, but Ezekiel has a hard time believing it; he looks around and sees only death.

 

God says, “Prophesy to these bones,” Ezekiel. “Prophesy to the [wind].”

 

When Ezekiel does what God commands him to do, the bones are drawn together, bone to its bone, and muscles appear, and the breath of life returns. The whole household of God rises up to its feet, standing tall and praising the God who has given it life once again.

 

Church of the Holy Communion knows what happens when the Holy Spirit’s wind begins to blow. Church of the Holy Communion knows what happens when the Holy Spirit’s commissioning fire descends on God’s faithful people. This moment of completion and re-dedication is more than we could ever have imagined possible just a few years ago. This house of prayer and prophecy stands as proof that God’s imagination exceeds the boundaries of our own, that nothing is “too wonderful for the Lord.”[1]

 

We are a church that is standing on its feet. Our muscles are fit for the work of the Kingdom of Heaven, and our lungs are filled with the very breath of God.

 

But, so many of the people around us cannot say the same.

 

Equally as unbelievable as our six-year capital fundraising and restoration effort are the circumstances under which we conclude it. We did not expect a global pandemic and economic downturn during our time of construction. We did not expect our long struggle with racial and economic injustice to dominate the headlines at the time of our grand reveal.

 

Yet, to paraphrase the Book of Queen Esther, perhaps we built this church for “just such a time as this.”[2] It is in times of disease that people are most ready to receive God’s promise of healing. It is in times of discord that people are most ready to receive God’s promise of justice.

 

We are opening a house of prophecy. We are opening a building that is dedicated to the sole and single purpose of telling the world the truth about God: The truth that God loves his people so much that he would taste death on their behalf. The truth that God will come again to set all things right – that mourning, and crying, and pain will be no more, that death itself will be abolished.

 

Our community needs to hear this truth, and our God needs us to tell it. 

 

Return to this place often so that you may be strengthened, so that you may be reminded of the promises of God. And then, go forth from this place and enter the world bearing Jesus’ banner of truth and hope, his banner of reconciliation and love.

 

Ezekiel asks if the bones can live. We wonder if the world is too far gone. God’s response is the same: “Prophesy to the bones.” “Prophesy to the wind.” Then, watch the Holy Spirit begin to move.

 

Can you hear the wind? Can you hear the rattling of bones once said to be dry? New life is on its way. New life will be advanced by the work of this parish church and by the people who call it home.

 

Just a moment ago, we prayed that God would use this place for the “building up of the living, and [for] the remembrance of the dead.” Pray now that God will “make these words more than words, and give [us] the Spirit of Jesus.”[3]

 

Amen.

 

[1] Genesis 18:14 (NRSV)

[2] Esther 4:14 (NRSV)

[3] The Book of Common Prayer (1979), 567 and 461

Posted by The Reverend Sandy Webb at 10:07 AM
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