Can these bones live?

March 31, 2023

“Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” ~ Ezekiel 37:3 NRSV

As I head into Passion Week, that is the question on my mind. Less than a week after the murders of three nine-year-olds and three adults at Covenant School in Nashville, TN. Judging from the fact that only nine states have banned assault rifles, the answer would be a resounding “no.”

But then, I recall the story of the valley of dry bones, a metaphor for the people of God who were living in exile in Babylon, believing that God had been left behind in the temple in Jerusalem. You remember how the story goes. God askes Ezekiel the question above, and then asks Ezekiel to participate in what appears to be impossible. God tells him to speak to the bones, and the bones come together like skeletons in a biology lab. Then flesh and muscle and skin cover the bones, but they are not yet alive.  God tells him to speak to the wind, to the Spirit, and whoosh, the bones come to life, a might army.

Our congregation owns an old house that had been used by two generations of church custodians prior to the pandemic. It fell into disrepair over the years, as old houses often do, including an infestation of critters and was sitting empty. About a year ago, a couple of Ezekiels in our congregation began to speak to the congregation, several vendors, a very skilled carpenter, and two local non-profits heard the word, and came to life, inspired by the Spirit. Sometime this summer, whoosh, the house will be ready to receive a homeless family in partnership with a community non-profit organization. Dry bones can live.

Don’t give up! Speak the love of God into bad situations that appear to be deader than a doorknob. Call on the Spirit of God to breathe life into what seems impossible. Speak with our money, and with our actions, and share the vision of something better with everyone who will listen. In partnership with what God is doing, and inspired by the Spirit, resurrection happens, to old houses, hardened hearts, and the impossible.

With hope ~ Anne

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