Bible Readings for Week of April 2

The First Reading is a well-known passage from Ezekiel, 37:1-14. Try reading the passage and not singing, “Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones…” It is the vision of the valley of dry bones. The point of the passage is that at times we feel dead and dried up inside, just like the people of God who were in exile in Babylon. But, do not despair, God Who can bring life to dry bones can revive life in us. We see this through Christ. Let Him revive you every day!
Lord God, You breathed and gave life to the dust of creation. You sent Your Spirit and gave life to the dry bones among which Ezekiel walked. Jesus commanded and the little girl, the young man, and Lazarus returned to life. On the third day after the resurrection Jesus came back to life, never to die again. Refresh and renew us each day through Your Holy Spirit, breathing the life of Christ in us because only in Him can we live. In His Name we pray. Amen.

The Psalm, 130, continues the theme of hope growing out of hopelessness. The psalmist cried out to the Lord from the midst of the depths of despair. Note that even though the resolution from God has not yet come, the Psalmist hopes in the Lord, and encourages others to hope as well. We can hope because God is faithful.
Faithful God, open our ears, eyes, and hearts to You each day. Fill us with hope even when things seem hopeless, knowing that in Jesus You make all things new. In His Name we pray. Amen.

The Second Reading, Romans 8:1-11, continues the theme of hope. Note that our hope is centered and grounded in the Spirit of God; with the Spirit of God there is always hope and life. In His grace, God has given us His Holy Spirit, so we have the life of the Lord, life which leads to eternal life through Jesus.
Lord Jesus, in You we have the hope and assurance of the resurrection to eternal life. Keep us in this hope every day, and keep that eternal perspective before us, especially when life in this world can be hard. In Your Name we pray. Amen.

The Gospel is one of the longest Gospel readings in the lectionary, John 11:1-53. It is the account of the raising of Jesus’ friend Lazarus back to life. When Jesus reached the tomb there was no hope for Lazarus, he had been dead four days, but with Jesus there is always hope. In fact, with Jesus there is the resurrection to eternal life for all who believe. What a blessed hope and assurance!
Lord Jesus, we thank and praise You for bringing Your friend Lazarus back to life. And we especially thank and praise You for Your glorious resurrection. Thank You for joining us to Your death and resurrection in Baptism, and for sealing this eternal life with the gift of faith. Enable us always to look to You and to rejoice in the resurrection to eternal life that we have in You. In Your Name we pray. Amen.

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