Here we are in Advent 3 and our theme for this week is Word of Life. The other word we add to this week’s theme is our Advent word of Joy. In our Advent candles you may notice that the candle that stands on the Joy banner is in a red holder. This is because there is a tradition that the 3rd candle Joy is not purple in colour but actually pink. It has connection with Mary the mother of Jesus and so standing out from the other 3 purple candles.
That is also why the word JOY on our banner is in rose gold lettering rather than the gold lettering of the other 3 banners. Our reading this week tells the story of Ezekiel and the Valley of the Dry Bones. Here we see the power of God in creating humankind from a valley of dry and bleached bones. Similar to the creation story, but with more detail, these bones come together, form skeletons, get covered with sinew, flesh and skin and eventually are filled with the breath of God sent on the four winds.
God is telling us that “I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live,” Here God gives Ezekiel instructions to bring life to these bones, Ezekiel has been given the word of life to bring to the people. The clarion call of the prophets, familiar during the season of Advent, was that God’s creation, had become a place that was ‘dead’ to God’s ways.
Humanity had travelled off course, had diverted far from what mattered, and had travelled so far down this road that there was no turning back without the intervention of God. The prophet voices called for change; they called for God to take what had withered, turned sour and was on its way to death, and breathe new life into it, in order that collectively humanity would raise itself, return to God, and thrive.
We can see in the Incarnation the power of God at work; changing things through love. God came as new life, and in the new life of Jesus, a process was started that continued through the unfolding events of his childhood, his ministry and death and resurrection, towards the consummation of new life offered by God. God provided a new gospel and command to love. The Holy Spirit was energised to breathe life into what was lifeless and into something teeming with the goodness of God. How do we reflect this new life? What is it about how we are the people of God in this place and at this time that shouts new life?
Advent is a time for new life, coming out of restrictions is a time for new life, committing to care for each other and our community is new life. New life calls us to change the way we’ve been living in the past. New life calls us to new opportunities, what we need to do now is pray and watch for the coming of the breath of God that brings that new life to us.