Words of Prophecy
READ EZEKIEL 37:1-14
Ezekiel is asked an obvious “no” question! (Can these bones live, indeed!) Perhaps, today’s equivalent would be “Can we create harmony within the church?” I suggest this because the idea that dried bones could be given life – not the skeletal life of horror movies but actually be given muscle, skin, and completely restored to life – seems no more possible than harmony within the church. The words that come from our mouths, our pulpits, our seminaries, and are written in our many volumes can be unnecessarily rigid; anyone in the ecumenical movement must acknowledge this since it has been the clarification of these words that have made our movement possible.
There continue to be divisions over what it means to call the Bible sacred. We know that the writers and translators of the Bible or our preferred theologies had a culture and context from which they framed their words—but we don’t agree on what that might mean for their interpretation today. The idea that God could be just as appropriately called Mother as she can be called Father is lifesaving for some and theological treason for others. How can this contentious group come together? Can these dry bones live? Ezekiel’s story stands as a witness to how unreasonable God’s plans can sound to our earthbound ears.
We could all take a page out of Ezekiel’s game book. When it comes to the things of God, look, watch, and listen! See what comes from such talk of healing words and words of gender and racial reconciliation as you will find in Words Matters. Consider entering into this prophecy, for these are words of prophecy that tell of God’s ability to rebuild and strengthen the Body of Christ. Words Matters is one gift from God that can support new life even in situations where all we can see are dry bones. FOR
REFLECTION AND ACTION
What are the divisive words or ideas in your community, church, or denomination? Explore as many points of view on this word or idea as possible. Try to understand where each voice is coming from. Work together in your community to pray and consider with the question “Can these dry bones live?” in your own situation.
By Inez Torres Davis
Ines Torres Davis has served with Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America since 1997. She has served as core trainer for anti-racism education and other justice issues, is a keynoter and conducts retreats and workshops on such things as sacred spaces, spiritual practices, anti-racism and inclusivity. In 1991 she was commissioned as the first Latino Associate in Ministry of the ELCA.