Ezekiel was speaking to people in exile. Was their home lost for them forever? Did the losses in their lives prevent them from worshiping God, from being connected to God? Could they still be a people? Does the despair that comes from the pain in our lives keep us from any hope?
The Lord comes to Ezekiel and asks, "Can these bones live?" Ezekiel says, "You know the answer."
The answer that the Lord gives him is in the form of an instruction, "Prophesy to these bones. Tell them what I am going to do."
Ezekiel does speak to the people. And as he does, those scattered bones come together, sinews and flesh and skin cover them. But, no breath.
This state of life works as a metaphor for our own times. A couple of examples: We can use it to despair of our economic difficulties or of the decline in organized religion--or in our particular denomination. We may still look the way we did in the past when things were better, but things aren't the same. We aren't as productive, we fear the future.
When there was no breath in those mortals, the breath of the Lord God came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet.