One clear message of the Resurrection of Christ is that those who believe in him will also experience restoration to life. “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.” (Rom. 8:11). This applies to whatever is “die- able” in our lives, be it conditions, circumstances, business, marriage, relationships, spirituality, health etc. Life is full of ups and downs – vicissitudes. We are faced with challenges which sometimes throw us off and cast us into despondency or loss of hope. There are times we consider some areas and activities of our lives dead. By the power of the Resurrection, we can bounce back to life come what may.
In Ezekiel 37, God led Prophet Ezekiel to a valley of dry bones where the bones were scattered on the ground without any sign of life in them. This situation actually reflects the hopeless conditions of many today. But God showed his power of restoration or bringing back to life that which is lifeless by not only causing Ezekiel to prophesy that the bones shall live again but also bringing it to pass. No situation can be hopeless with God. “Abraham believed, hoping against hope…” (Rom. 4:18). No matter how down, helpless or hopeless we find ourselves, we can still bounce back to life by looking up to the Lord. In the Collect for the day, we pray “that in all the changes and chances of this world, our hearts may surely there be fixed, where lasting joys are to be found”.
“Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like streams in the Negev” – Psa. 126:4. (The streams in Negev were bone-dry in summer, but the winter rains restore or renew their flows).
The Readings/Lessons for the Day (Matins)
In the 1st Lesson (Neh. 1), Nehemiah learnt that Jerusalem was in ruin as its wall was broken down and its gates burnt with fire. The news was so demoralizing to Nehemiah that he wept. He was deeply grieved about the condition of Jerusalem. But he went beyond brooding about the situation and acted in faith. He knew God’s power of restoration. God can turn around ugly situations and make them beautiful again.
The 2nd Lesson (1 Cor. 15:1-28) speaks of the certainty of resurrection. Christ was surely raised from dead. It was witnessed by many and it became the basis of our faith. Very importantly, Christ’s resurrection opened door for our own resurrection – “the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep”. Because he rose and defeated death, we know we will also be raised. Death has been destroyed and so, what is dead will come back to life.
The Venerable Dr Princewill Onyinyechukwu Ireoba, FIMC, CMC.
iRector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.