"Impossible Possibilities"

I will likely be at Urban Village Church in Chicago at the same time my friend

and colleague Susan will be bringing the message at McKnight. Although I know I will

enjoy worshipping at a church that was started 10 years ago, worships at 4 different

locations on Sunday morning and doesn’t have its own building (a very different reality

than most of us are used to), I will miss hearing Susan Moudry preach.

As the brief bio she provided to me says,

“Rev. Dr. Susan Moudry currently serves as Coordinator of Clergy and Lay

Excellence for the Western Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church. In

that role she works to develop, support and sustain the leadership of our connection.  She

recently earned a PhD in church history from Baylor University, specializing in

American Methodism and the connection of American religion and politics.  She lives in

Cranberry Township with her husband and two children.”

I know Susan, and have appreciated her intellect—she promises that she’ll let me

read her doctoral dissertation—and her insight. As well, I enjoy her humor, her positive

and yet realistic view of the state of the church, and her awareness of the bizarre nature of

her job (clergy and lay excellence is a tall order), which she still does with grace and

poise. She is also one of the kindest and most pleasant people I have known in this

profession. You will experience her in much the same way, I predict.

And she’ll be working with a “fun” Scripture. The “valley of dry bones” is a very

engaging passage, a fascinating image being made use of, and both challenging and

hopeful—productive indeed of considering “Impossible Possibilities”.

A big McKnight welcome to Rev. Dr. Susan Moudry.

Ezekiel 37:1-14

1 The hand of the LORD came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the LORD and

set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones.  2 He led me all round them;

there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry.  3 He said to me, ‘Mortal,

can these bones live?’ I answered, ‘O Lord GOD, you know.’  4 Then he said to me,

‘Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.  5 Thus

says the Lord GOD to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live.  6 I

will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin,

and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the LORD.’

7 So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a

noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone.  8 I looked, and there were

sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there

was no breath in them.  9 Then he said to me, ‘Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal,

and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord GOD: Come from the four winds, O breath, and

breathe upon these slain, that they may live.’ 10 I prophesied as he commanded me, and the

breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.

11 Then he said to me, ‘Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, “Our

bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.”  12 Therefore prophesy,

and say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD: I am going to open your graves, and bring you

up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 And

you shall know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your

graves, O my people.  14 I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place

you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken and will act,

says the LORD.’