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.’ “
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.