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[Sermon] And You'll Come to Life

Updated: May 21

Pastor Hector Garfias-Toledo + May 19, 2024 + Day of Pentecost

In his Pentecost sermon, Pastor Hector Garfias-Toledo draws parallels between the dry bones in Ezekiel's vision and the dryness in our lives. He emphasizes how the breath of the Spirit brings renewal and restoration, urging us to embrace our role as channels of God's life-giving power.

Sermon Transcript

From automatically generated captions via YouTube, and lightly edited for appropriate punctuation by ChatGPT.

Grace to you and peace from God our Father, our Mother, our Creator, and the Lord Jesus Christ, our risen Lord, and the Holy Spirit who is with us. And we said, Amen.

They are pests. They are the enemies of our lawns. They are an annoyance to everybody, and don't tell me that they are not to you because they are for everyone. At the same time, they are a mystery, and I believe there is a lesson for us in them because life depends on the wind, on the breath of creation.

Ezekiel saw the multitude of these disconnected and thoroughly dissected bones on the field. Sometimes that makes me feel or see the image of a battlefield where there are bodies that are not buried. Then the Lord God tells the prophet, "Can these bones live?" And the prophet said, "O God, you only know." Then Yahweh orders the prophet to prophesy to the bones. The bones are re-mended, bound by tissue, refreshed, covered, and animated by the spirit.

Dryness in our lives, I believe, is the result of the environment that sucks life out of us, of systems that lead us to see dryness as our destiny and our way of life. It pushes us to believe that we are victims and that we need to victimize others. In my view, this dryness that our society experiences is manifested as emptiness in our hearts, in our bodies, and in our minds—not necessarily because there is a personal choice to live in that way, but because of the circumstances in which many of us find ourselves. This lack of sense of purpose and belonging leads us to addictions and to attitudes that push others down, that push us to take advantage of others in order to fill the emptiness that you and I experience in our lives.

The message that we hear today is that God's new order of creation is the opposite of what we experience. As I think of this image of the bones coming together, I ask myself the question: how may this process look like in our daily lives, in our society when the dryness of our lives and the dryness in the life of our communities starts seeing growing flesh and bringing life? The Pentecost message is a message that restores life, wholeness, and liberation. The new order of God's reign is the assurance that when you and I are feeling like dry bones, when you and I are like a pest to others, when you and I are unwanted, and when anyone is an annoyance to another, the breath of the Spirit comes to us and blows new life to all people, to fill us and to send us.

We are both the dry bones and the prophets of the breath of God. We are channels of the Spirit, the breath of God, the prophets of the promise. Even though we may fear and look like dry bones today or any time in our lives, the breath of God gives us life and comes and remembers us to be the body of Christ. The wind, the breath, is what gives the dandelion the power to be and to become every single year. You can tell me about that because maybe after this you are going to do your lawn. They are a mystery and a lesson for us. At times we see them alive and blooming, yellow and nice, and then later we see them only as remains, dead and dry. But life is possible. Life is possible because of the wind, the breath of the Creator. They come every year, confident that the blowing wind will bring life again and again and again. They will always be becoming.

As we read in the contemporary word, it is only as the dandelions do, when we give ourselves, that the breath does the rest. It is only when you and I give ourselves to the power of the Spirit that the breath of God will do the rest in our lives. Today we are going to celebrate our baptism. Today we are going to remember that the breath of the Spirit has been given to us. Whenever in our lives the Spirit wants to come to us, whether we are a child, an infant, or an adult. Today Ethan is going to be baptized, and you and I, as a community, as a congregation, are called to prophesy that the gift of the Spirit has been given to him. Whether he understands or knows what is happening today, the gift is his. And you as godparents, parents, grandparents, as we as siblings in Christ of this child, are called to remind him and prophesy that the Holy Spirit has come upon him, to call him by name and to remember that God has said yes to him as God said yes to each one of us.

And in that, my siblings in Christ, we rejoice. In that, we are like the dandelion, knowing that the breath of God will come one time, and one more time, and one more time, to give us life every day until the day that the whole Church will be in the presence of the Lord, in the presence of the Spirit, with the joy in Christ who makes our joy complete. And for that, we thank God. Amen.

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