Can these bones live? – an Easter Sunday message for Extinction Rebellion

On Easter Sunday, members of Green Christian joined Christian Climate Action and friends at Marble Arch, London, as part of the Extinction Rebellion protest camp. They took part in an Easter Sunday service, sitting in the road, with people bringing a song or a reading or a liturgy.
Jeremy Williams brought this reflection on Ezekiel 37 – where death does not get the final word.


Jeremy Williams brought this reflection on Ezekiel 37 – where death does not get the final word.

God took a hold of me, and I was carried away by the spirit to a valley filled with bones. God led me all around among the bones that covered the valley floor. They were scattered everywhere across the ground and were completely dried out. Then God asked me, “human, can these bones become living people again?”

“Creator,” I replied, “you alone know the answer to that.”

Then God said to me, “Speak a message of prophecy to these bones and say, ‘Dry bones, listen to the word of God! This is what your creator says: Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again!I will put flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you, and you will come to life.”

Brothers and sisters, we stand on a blighted earth. A good earth, a gift of a planet – but one we have poisoned, littered, abused and exhausted. And we are now reaping what we have sown. We have entered a time of consequences. We find ourselves, like Ezekiel, in a valley of bones.

And God says to us – can these live again?

When the trees are felled in Madagascar, and the birds, and lemurs, and chameleons are gone. Can that rainforest live again?

The Canadian forests cleared for tar sands; the Virginian mountain-tops removed for coal – Can they rise again?

The Nigerian delta where the oil drillers pollute. Will its waters run clean again? The islands of Kiribati, the Maldives – will the waters recede? The declining sea ice of the Arctic – will the waters freeze again?

And ourselves, after so many years of denying and suppressing the truth, blunting our consciences against the suffering of others, and of the natural world – can we feel again? Will our hearts beat again?

In this valley of bones – we will live again?

Ezekiel spoke the message, just as God said: “Dry bones, this is what your creator says: Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again!I will put flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you, and you will come to life.”

I spoke this message, says Ezekiel, just as I was told. Suddenly as I spoke, there was a rattling noise all across the valley. The bones of each body came together and attached themselves as complete skeletons. Then as I watched, muscles and flesh formed over the bones. Then skin formed to cover their bodies, but they still had no breath in them.

Then God said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to the winds, human. Speak a prophetic message and say, ‘This is what the almighty God says: Come, O breath, from the four winds! Breathe into these dead bodies so they may live again.’”

Today is Easter Sunday. Today we remember the resurrection of Jesus – killed at the hands of empire, but refusing to stay dead. Jesus, the Bible tells us, was man and God. He was fully divine. He was the creator God, taking human form. Becoming atoms and elements like all of us. He became one with creation, and walked among us. He taught the confused, he healed the sick, he fed the hungry. And he lay down his life, willingly, to heal the wrongdoing of the world and unlock an age of grace.

When the creator God died, and then rose again, I believe something changed in the material of the universe. God had gone viral. The divine had come to us, to the point of dying like us – but then going beyond us. When Jesus rose from the dead, the power of death was broken, and the spirit of God was unleashed into creation.

The spirit of Jesus infuses the universe. It is a spirit of love, of generosity, of abundant life. It is a spirit of forgiveness, and of healing. It is a spirit of creation, of beauty. It cannot be undone. It cannot be broken. Because it is a spirit of resurrection.

The bones have grown flesh. Ezekiel no longer stands in a valley of bones. He is surrounded by bodies. And as God said, he speaks to the wind. And he says: This is what the almighty God says: Come, O breath, from the four winds! Breathe into these dead bodies so they may live again.

I spoke the message as God commanded me, and breath came into their bodies. They all came to life and stood up on their feet—a great army.

God said “human, these bones represent the people. They have been saying, ‘We have become old, dry bones—all hope is gone. Our future is gone.’ Therefore, prophesy to them and say, ‘This is what God says: My people, I will open your graves and cause you to rise again. I will bring you back from the brink. I will put my Spirit in you, and you will live again and make your home on this gift of the Earth. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken, and I have done what I said. Yes, the Lord has spoken!’”


Brothers and sisters, today is Easter Sunday. We remember the resurrection. We celebrate new life from old, and we declare it: death does not get the final word! Extinction cannot have the final word! We will live again, because Jesus rose from the dead, and anything is possible.

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2 comments on “Can these bones live? – an Easter Sunday message for Extinction Rebellion
  1. john roberts says:

    Very beautiful and a message of hope!

  2. Thank you for this! Our monthly eco contemplation at St James’ Piccadilly was based on this yesterday. It was a really good way to think about how God makes change possible. Several of us were involved with Extinction Rebellion and we commented that Banksy’s new mural says ‘From this moment, despair ends and tactics begin’ – our role as Christians is to get behind those tactics – not just to ‘live in hope’..

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