Bones live

Yesterday for some reason a human skeleton was casually leaning against a dune beside the road next to the beach parking lot, as if waiting forever for someone. It appeared so white and clean it could only have come (one prays) from a classroom. But which classroom, on an early summer covid morning? Who brought it out for a field trip? I tried not to think, driving back home, about the skeleton’s former life, as structure for a living speaking loving being. This morning I found myself reading in Ezekiel about his God-given vision of dry bones scattered across a wide valley. The prophet is asked, “Can these bones live?” Ezekiel answers diplomatically: “Lord, you have known.” If I were him, I would also have trouble giving a straight yes. All evidence to the contrary. But if these bones can’t live, why is he shown this in a vision and asked such a question, if God were not about to change it up? Then Ezekiel is told to speak to the bones, from God’s mouth: “I am bringing into you a spirit, and you have lived....” At first: a noise, a rushing, as bones collect to make skeletons, then sinews, flesh and skin, but still no spirit. It must have been a sight: first, scattered bones. Now, everywhere he looks are dead people. Then Ezekiel is told to call: “O Spirit, breathe on these slain, and they live.” And it is so. Normally we end our lesson there: God is breathing us, and we live. But then God promises his people: Look, I am bringing you up out of your graves, out of your dwellings where you have been held captive. And your tribes will connect, bone to bone, sinew to sinew, flesh to flesh and skin to skin. The two peoples of the tribes, once separated like scattered bones, shall become alive and one.
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