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 around 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, 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.
Our priest chose this reading from Ezekiel for his sermon this weekend in remembrance of the Armenian genocide. While we speak often of the horrors Armenians faced under the Young Turk regime, we also remember that the story does not end there. Just as the story of Christ didn’t end on the cross, the story of the Armenians is one of survival, resurrection, and renewal.
This is Arousiag Ashkanian, my husband’s great-grandmother. As a young teenager, she was the only member of her family to escape the massacre of her people. She, along with many other survivors, walked through the desert of Der Zor to Syria. Her survival was a miracle, and her ability to start a new life in America is a testament to her incredible strength and the resilience of the human spirit. My sons exist because this woman had the courage to keep going, even when all hope seemed lost.
Thank you, Arousiag. We will never forget.
Krisdos haryav e merelots! Christ is risen from the dead!