Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Dem Bones

Do you remember the Negro spiritual about “Dem Bones”?  It’s a musical description of part of a vision the Lord gave to the prophet Ezekiel. That revelation is recorded in chapter 37 of the Old Testament book that bears the prophet’s name.

The Lord takes Ezekiel into a valley full of dry bones and asks him, “Can these bones live?”  The prophet does not know the answer to that question, but when he speaks the words given to him by the Lord, “suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone…” (vs.7).

The song “Dem Bones” picks up on the image of the bones reconnecting and declares in the chorus “Dem bones, dem bones gonna’ live again. Oh hear the word of the Lord.”   The verses then picture exactly how those bones were put back together again: “The toe bone connected to the foot bone,
            the foot bone connected to the ankle bone,
            the ankle bone connected to the leg bone,
            the leg bone connected to the hip bone,
            the hip bone connected to the back bone,
            the back bone connected to the neck bone,   
            the neck bone connected to the head bone.
           Oh, hear the word of the Lord.”

I was reflecting on this image of re-connecting dry bones when a question popped into my mind: I wonder what the “lung bone” is connected to?  (Now friends, I successfully completed two courses in anatomy - one in college and one in nursing school - so I know there are no bones inside the lungs!  But that is the question that came to me!)

What IS the “lung bone” connected to?  I confess I think about my lungs quite often these days as they struggle to perform their respiratory responsibilities.  I’d be delighted to hear the word of the Lord about what lies ahead but I had not thought about connectedness.  Does my “lung bone” feel disconnected and alone like I sometimes do?

Of course not!  My “lung bone” is connected to my “heart bone,” the center of human life and vitality.  They work together, strengthening each other and me.  And my “heart bone” is connected to the “heart bones” of other people!  Every kind thought, warm greeting, or supportive prayer your “heart bone” sends my way strengthens my “heart bone” and empowers my “lung bone” to keep on keeping on! Thank you, thank you!  Perhaps that is as much of the word of the Lord as I can understand at this point in my life!

30 April 2019 - mshr