by Rev. Judith Myers, Pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Fellowship
I love Advent, almost as much as I love Lent. There’s something so beautiful and sacred about times of not yet and in-between. I give thanks that God presents me with seasons that allow me to slow down a little and reflect. For those that know me, you know I’m not a very patient person. I’m working on it, but impatience runs deep in my family. So when Advent and Lent roll around, I force myself to wait. It’s a spiritual discipline during these seasons. I settle in the unknown. Impatiently, yes, but Advent and Lent have saved my spirit and my faith. I love the moments that cause me to take a step or two back. Maybe to reflect on the year behind me, hope for the year ahead, or just take time to sit in the valley of the dry bones.
At Emmanuel, we follow the Narrative Lectionary. This past week’s sermon Scripture was Ezekiel and the valley of the dry bones. Valley of the dry bones? During Advent? Weird. AND YET. It’s the perfect passage when you’re allowing yourself to rest in this not yet and in-between time. The valley of the dry bones is a story where God’s presence comes alive, working to bring new life and to piece the bones together. God’s presence brings restoration to God’s people. It’s a story where dry bones are given sustenance. It’s a story where hope is found. Many of us find ourselves in the valley of the dry bones during this season. Divorces or strained relationships with loved ones leave us lonely and grieving for what used to be, for what should be.
On Sunday, my congregation reflected on their own not yet or in-between because this season is so, so hard. And they heard a word of hope. Maybe God is breathing new life into them, into all of us. Maybe God is doing the same to you because this time of year is joyful. Maybe you need Advent, a time of longing and waiting. Maybe you’re approaching this season with dry bones, with no hope. Maybe you need time to reflect, to figure a few things out. Take time this season to rest in the valley of the dry bones. And then hear a word of hope. Hear that God is working in you, piecing you back together, breathing new life in you.