Tuesday, August 11, 2020

"Dry Bones Come to Life- God Works Within and Through Us" by Regina Madonna Oliver , A Promise of Presence

Unsplash: Mimi Thian

God said to me, "Mortal, can these bones live?" I answered, "0 God, you know." Then God said to me, "Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: 0 dry bones, hear the word of God. ... I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live." . . . So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was 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.

Ezekiel37: 3-8 (NRSV)

All of us have "dry bones" moments in our lives. In spite of all our efforts, nothing seems to "come together" for us. We put time and energy into a project; we pray about it; we do our best. Still it doesn't work. What are we to do? We're at rock-bottom, and we realize that we really don't know what to do, where to turn. It looks like our whole enterprise will have to be scrapped. We see nothing around us but the "dry bones" of thwarted effort!

Now, at that very moment, we are ripe for the word of God. Because of the impossibility that looks us in the face, we will know, without any doubt, that we desperately need God's intervention if we are to salvage our precious project.

How wonderful is the understanding that God chooses to make human beings collaborators in God's creation. This is how God acts with Ezekiel. God doesn't make the magic happen. Rather, God tells Ezekiel: "You prophesy to these bones! Speak to them!" Ezekiel does and, in the power of God, he sees the impossible happen.

That is how God works- within and through us! God inspires us: "Do this, and it will work!" We do it and- lo and behold-surprise, surprise! And we experience the joy of collabo­ rative success!

I recall a recent valley of dry bones. I was directing one of the four one-act comedies our small theatre group planned to present, and it just wasn't getting off the ground. The problem was that the person playing the primary character, a ludicrous house thief, simply could not manage to memorize his lines. The other charac­ters were ready for the increase in pace needed for the humorous climaxes, but the whole process was inhibited because the stage manager had to cue our thief on every ther line.

As opening night grew nearer, I consulted with those who were directing the other one-act comedies. It seemed we were doomed to scrap the whole performance unless a solution could be found. What a disappointment that would be to the entire cast; we had all worked so hard. We could not place "blame" anywhere; our "thief' certainly could not be faulted for lack of effort. He simply had a black-out problem when it came to memorization. What to do?

I went to bed in a quandary, with this prayer: "What in the world can I do, God?" The next morning the idea was there. Give our thief a "thiefs' handbook" to carry in his hip pocket. Have him constantly refer to his "crook book" every time he has to take action. Let each antagonist, upon entering, ask him why he is conferring with a book. What kind of a thief carries a book around with him for reference? He could answer: "This is my crook book, and I go by the book!"

The idea worked, and the play was salvaged! It was then that I realized that my dry bones of a play had been resurrected by this wonderful answer to prayer. God had let me collaborate.

Perhaps you have experienced dry bones coming to life many times over but never realized how God was acting in your behalf and through you. You may never have likened your personal experience to the vision of Ezekiel. Now you see how the Scripture is really lived out in your everyday life.


Think of a time in your life when you were faced with the likelihood of a failed project and some unlikely inspiration of the moment saved the day. See how God's Spirit, at work in you, enabled you to be creative, to find-almost without thinking-a solution. Thank God for the way the Divine works through, with and in you.


Give to God in prayer a problem you have been working with, a choice you have been struggling with, a brain-child you have been trying to create. Ask for God's help. Watch and see what happens.


Rest in the presence of our loving God, who is all-knowing. Pray the following as a mantra throughout the day:

0 Wisdom of God, penetrate and possess my whole understand­ing. Let me see as you see.


Read 1 Kings 3. The Scripture tells us that God is pleased that Solomon asks for a special gift instead of for riches or long life. God gives to Solomon not only what he asks for-but so much more. Boldly and prayerfully, ask God to give you the wisdom to bring life to those "dry bones" concerns in your life.


Read Proverbs 8:14. Realize that God has blessed you with "good advice and sound wisdom." Bring to mind the "dry bones" con­ cerns of your heart and review all options that might come to mind. Relax in confidence, and tell God that you trust you will have the wisdom to act when and if you must. Make Proverbs 8:14 your mantra for today.


Prayerfully make a list of the things that will cause you great concern today. Don't think ahead to tomorrow, next week, or next month. Just look into the day at what awaits you there in terms of worry and responsibility. Make this your prayer today:

God, you know the deepest and darkest parts of my heart. As I face the challenges that await me in this day, I lean against you in confidence. You will give me the virtues I need in the moment to respond with patience and wisdom. I walk with your grace today, each step I take.


Come before God in the stillness of your heart, where God always awaits your conscious communion. Make this your prayer today:

Holy One, my loving and intimate friend-of all-friends, the "dry bones" of my life humble me. They let me see how my life is not com­pletely within my control. They put me in touch with just how dependent I am on your grace and providence. Calm any panic or stress I experience as I look at those "dry bones." Open me to your peace.

(This meditation is from A Promise of Presence by Bridget Mary Meehan and Regina Madonna Oliver)

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