Through the Prophet Ezekiel, God said to Israel:

I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

(From the Daily Office Lectionary – Ezekiel 36:25-26 – May 26, 2012)

It rained here last night – pretty spectacular electrical storm, to be honest. The dog spent the night cowering under a table. This morning when I took her out at 6 a.m. the world was freshly washed. In the trees surrounding our home, birds of all sorts were singing and there was a sweetness in the air. Sprinkles with clean water, the earth had been cleaned of its uncleannesses, if only for a moment. ~ It is only a coincidental convergence of the two lectionaries (Episcopal Daily Office two-year cycle with the Revised Common Lectionary three-year cycle), but tomorrow’s Old Testament lesson is Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones in the next chapter of his prophecy. Dry bones, dessicated, dehydrated – emblematic of spiritual emptiness. Clean water, washing, witnessing, revivifying – emblem of the Spirit herself. ~ Tomorrow we will baptize and welcome into God’s household a young lady of about 10 years of age. I find it difficult to conceive of her having “a heart of stone” but I am convinced that in her baptism God will give her a new heart and write on her heart his law of love. Her life will become like the world after the rain, freshly washed and filled with light and sweetness. This is not to say that there will not be dry patches in her life; there are in every life, even the lives of the saints. However, nurtured by the church and sustained by the Spirit, she will be able to make it through those times with more than enough spiritual “moisture”. The Psalms constantly remind us that “the river of God is full of water” (65:9) and that God changes “deserts into pools of water and dry land into water-springs” (107:35). ~ In another vision, Ezekiel saw a river of water flowing from the temple. It flooded the land, in places ankle-deep, in others knee-deep, and in still others waist-deep. The water flowed everywhere and everywhere it flowed was to be the land of God’s people, not just Israel, but all of God’s people. The dry bones of all nations will be restored in the water of God’s river; God will sprinkle clean water upon us all. We call this baptism.