Fifth Sunday in Lent

Year A Readings:

  • Ezekiel 37:1-14
  • Psalm 130
  • Romans 8:6-11
  • John 11:1-45

In the Valley of the Ghost Christians

The hand of the Lord came upon me
and led me on an uncertain mission
to a valley full of ghostly shapes
lying lifeless on the cold ground
in the sullen dawn. When he set me down
amid the valley, I was amazed to hear
the Lord’s voice calling me,
“Mortal, can these ghost Christians live?”
I answered, “O Lord God, you know.”

I began to speak at the Lord’s command.
Shapes rose like twisting smoke
with the rushing sounds of the four winds
as bones came together and flesh
took shape atop the bones, and skin
covered the flesh, and the ghost Christians
once again began to breathe.
The sun broke through the morning haze.
Ghost Christians shimmered in the light,
attentive, as if waiting for instructions.
Then the Lord said to me,
“Prophesy to these ghost Christians:
listen, hear the word of the Lord!”

I heard my voice fill up the valley.
“I do not promise you a land of your own
or sacred soil in our troubled world.
Put aside your worldly concerns
for living in comfort, buying and selling,
securing your place, displacing others.
Remember your baptism, your call to service.
Turn your attention to those in need.
Give food to the hungry and drink to the thirsty,
clothe the naked and welcome the stranger,
heal the sick and visit the prisoner.
Now is the time to renew commitment
to the spirit of Christ, which dwells in you.”

When the last echo of my last words
settled into silence, I lowered my eyes
from the distant mountains and witnessed emptiness
in all directions. All of the silence
in this rib-cage valley undergirded
the wings and arc of a solitary raptor.

March 29, 2020

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