What I’m Thinking: Bones’ Hope

To a people whose hopes had failed, Ezekiel brought a vision of dry bones finding new life.

Here’s a transcript:

I’m thinking about the thirty-seventy chapter of the book of the prophet Ezekiel (Ezekiel 37:1-14). It’s a familiar story to many, or at least the image is familiar: it’s Ezekiel’s vision of a valley filled with dried bones.

Instructed by God, Ezekiel prophesied to the bones and they drew together; and Ezekiel continued to prophecy to the bones, and flesh grew upon them once more; and Ezekiel prophesied to the bones, and the bodies were now filled with breath and came to life. It’s a stunning vision just on its own; it was particularly stunning for Ezekiel and for the people who listened to him.

Ezekiel was one of the Exiles removed from Jerusalem by the Babylonians. in Babylon Ezekiel heard of the second fall of Jerusalem and the resultant end of the nation in which he’d been raised and whose temple he’d served, now in ruins. Ezekiel’s vision of a valley filled with bones, that would have been something that he and his people would have understood: a vision of death and of loss and of suffering. But a vision of bones throwing together, a vision of new flesh spreading over those bones, a vision of bodies brought to life by the breath of God: that was exceptional.

With this vision is Ezekiel found new hope in the God he served. With this vision Ezekiel brought hope to those around him.

We are not in exile — though it must be said that things have changed significantly over the course of time and the Christian Church is no longer the power that it once was. Some of that is for good; some of that is for bad. We have spent three years in a global pandemic and we are still not certain just how long this disease will remain with us and what effects it will have upon our societies in the long term. So there is something of a familiarity with the dry bones, the dry, dry bones.

In that time of tragedy and shadows, Ezekiel saw that vision, that vision of new life. In that time of uncertainty and sorrow, Ezekiel shared the message with those around him, and it was preserved over the centuries for us.

However much we might feel like dry bones, know that God has both the compassion and the power to bring our bones into line once more, to restore our aching bodies, and to fill our lungs with life and light and hope.

That’s what I’m thinking. I’m curious to hear what you’re thinking. Leave me your thoughts in the comment section below; I’d love to hear from you.

Categories What I'm Thinking | Tags: , | Posted on March 20, 2023

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