tendons

The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
I said, “O Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”
Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’ “
So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.
Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’ ” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet–a vast army.
Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: O my people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’ “
Ezekiel 37:1-14

I love imagery that can capture how raw and gritty faith truly is. As of late, tendons seem to be doing the trick. Tendons help our muscles, and subsequently our limbs, to move correctly; they keep us together under our skin–never letting us move or wiggle or stretch or reach too far outside of what our bodies are capable of doing. Unless, of course, the tendons rip. Bellarive uses this imagery in “Tendons (the Release)”

So what then?
What good is a broken heart to You?
Could you even hear my heart from there?
And like a father assuring his son to come home
“Oh my son, it’s enough, it’s enough.”

So who am I to accept this grace that just falls like rain?
‘Cause we all know I chose to lay my head in this desert.
But like a fish out of water,
We only know then what it means to be parched.

So if Christ is alive, the love, and the groom
Then take heed my friends
For chivalry is not dead!
For I know no other lover who would have met me here in this place.

So I awake and I rise from my bed of complacency.
Oh, my God I’ve been sleeping with a corpse!
Oh, and these bed sores they still rest in my bones.
Oh, how I’ve made a beautiful dance of this cadaver but my audience is appalled.
Oh, how strong these tendons
How they desperately need to rip from this ancient Adam.

So light up the sky and set me to flame
Burn this bone and tissue
For I no longer want to be entangled in this sinew
That hinders my reach towards You.

Following the Gospel requires a balance of death and life. Die to self. Be filled by the Sovereign Lord. Rip the tendons and attach the tendons. Less of me and more of You. Unearth these things I think are giving me life and in their place fill my lungs and my blood and my body and my step with You–the only source of life.

supply/demand

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance; godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:3-8

ruth

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
1 John 4:20
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.
Romans 12:9
But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.”
Ruth 1:16-17

Ruth stayed with Naomi through her darkest hour. Not only that, but to stay with Naomi, to be loyal, to be kind, meant death. It’s a heartbreaking kind of loyalty, isn’t it? She vows to follow her wherever, whether that means life or death or some unpredictable unknown. Ruth bears her mother-in-law’s burden. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me. And it truly is a burden: but then again, what is a burden and why am I so scared to be one? Maybe it isn’t always a bad thing. Maybe being a burden and letting others be a burden is the best kind of way to do life.

It used to scare me that I’d never have a Ruth of a friend: someone whose battles were my battles, joys were my joys. Now I’m surrounded by more Ruths than I can handle; it’s overwhelming. My Ruths see me as a burden but not in a bad way. They see me for me and yet they still find me worth the battle. It’s scary to let them care for me like this, but goodness they are beautiful and wonderful in every way. God, give me the courage to be Ruth when I need to be Ruth. Give me the humility to be Naomi when I need to be Naomi. God, give me eyes to see how I can be for people, how I can fight alongside them, how I can carry their burden. God, give me the humility to let others see my burden.

b(u)y fruit

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this, all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thorn bushes, or grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:43-45
“Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:33-37