Dancing Skeletons?

Read: Ezekiel 37:1-14

Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost. (v. 11)

I remember hearing the old spiritual “Dry Bones” for the first time. I was nine years old, and my big brother’s high school choir sang it. They used percussive sound effects as the toe bone connected to the foot bone and on up the body. I was mesmerized, and visualized a bunch of dancing skeletons. Later in life, when I read Ezekiel 37, I wondered where the dancing skeletons were.

I was so caught up in my monster-movie imagination, I missed the point. This is a passage about hope at the time of the exile when many in Israel had lost hope. It’s not unique—much of the Old Testament is about holding on to hope in the face of traumatic loss. The two great shaping experiences of Israel’s identity—the exodus and the exile—were times of great tribulation when it would have been easy to say, “Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost.”

Ezekiel’s vision of dry bones coming to life is a vision of resurrection. It’s not just about bones connecting to each other but sinews and flesh covering the bones. “I will open your graves and raise you from your graves,” the Lord says (v. 12). God is saying the exile isn’t the end of the story. There will be more. That message isn’t just for Israel, it’s for us too. With God, there is always more to the story. —Jeff Munroe

As you pray, ask God to show you how resurrection means there is always more to the story and ask God for the gift of hope.

About the Author

Jeff Munroe

Jeff Munroe is the editor of theReformed Journaland, in addition to being the author of the best-selling book Reading Buechner: Exploring the Work of a Master Memoirist, Novelist, Theologian, and Preacher, is also a poet, blogger, and essayist. His work has appeared in Christianity Today, The Christian Century, US Catholic, and The Reformed Journal.

This entry is part 4 of 15 in the series Hopeful, Not Optimistic