At several points this year, while clambering to and from various gatherings and trying to push myself through the final quarters in my seminary career, I have found myself feeling a little dry, (I wrote a little earlier in the summer about this very thing) and wondering where our Beloved was. I felt as though I was in the midst of a terrible storm of thunder and lightning but was lacking the refreshing, cooling downpour of grace upon my thirsty soul. As one born and raised in the pacific-northwest where rains are quite abundant, this is saying something!
On account of my geographical location, I don't often identify with the imagery of desert sands and arid places; the landscape surrounding me is usually quite lush and green. However, during certain points in my life, and particularly poignantly in the last few months of seminary, I have had very strong sensations of being unceasingly thirsty, dry and in a time of waiting for our Beloved to come and take some powerful action. In these times, this vision of Ezekiel is particularly profound:
"Feeling Dry" - Photo by Trista Wynne
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. He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry.
He said to me, "Mortal, can these bones live?" I answered, "O Lord God, you know." Then he said to me, "Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. 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."
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. 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.
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." I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude. ~ Ezekiel 37:1-10This vision is quite beautiful!
When, dear ones, have you felt dry lately? Are you like this valley of dry bones that Ezekiel saw in his vision so long ago? What parts of your life appear dead and unlikely to flourish? Let us acknowledge these areas of our lives today.
And then, with the Holy Spirit, the mighty Breath of God in our midst, let us rise up and prophesy!
Let us speak words of love, kindness, peace, gentleness, truth and grace into these areas in our lives. May our Beloved grant us wisdom, and help the dry parts of our spirits to receive new life. May our hearts begin to beat strongly and tenderly once more. May our ears hear the cries of the wounded and broken, and may we have the sinews and flesh with which to tend their needs. And as we are filled once more with the Love and Life of Christ Jesus, may we remember how integrally we are connected to the whole of creation, so that we might reach out and offer our whole selves to the re-creative work in our Beloved's name.