Bone of My Bone by Esther Hizsa

by Christine Sine
John Roddam Spencer Stanhope (1829-1908)- The vision of Ezekiel – Valley of the Dry Bones” by Will. Used with permission.


John Roddam Spencer Stanhope (1829-1908)- The vision of Ezekiel – Valley of the Dry Bones” by Will. Used with permission.

I close my eyes to pray, and the hand of the Lord is on me. Like Ezekiel, I am brought out by the Spirit of the Lord and set in the middle of a valley full of bones. Everywhere I look, I see sun-bleached skeletons of fathers, mothers, and children whose lives were cut short, whose bones are so scattered that they cannot even be given a decent burial.

Sadness washes over me, but I am not overwhelmed by it: these are not my people. My loved ones are eating cereal and checking e-mails.

The Spirit reminds me of a line in a prayer I have been praying, “Triune Lord. . . give us the grace to feel profoundly joined to everything that is.”

I look at the carnage again. Some died from drinking water drawn from poisoned rivers. Others starved to death when their land was repurposed by their oppressors.

The Spirit leads me back and forth among the bones, and I see a great many more on the floor of the valley–bones of birds, animals and sea creatures, now extinct.

The Spirit asks me, “Daughter of Eve, can these bones live?”

“These bones are dried up! Their hope is gone. Like Cain, they are cut off from you and each other. Yet, Lord, you are sovereign; you alone know.”

The Spirit of the Lord says 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; then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

While I am prophesying, I hear a noise, a rattling sound. The bones come together, bone to bone! Tendons and flesh appear on them, and skin covers them. Breath comes from the four winds and breathes into each one. They stand up on their feet—a vast army of all God’s creatures.

Then the Spirit of the Lord says to me: “Daughter of Eve, this is your family–bone of your bone, and flesh of your flesh.”

My mouth is dry. All my bones are out of joint. Humbly and desperately, I cry, “Sovereign Lord, you have seized me and rattled me. Thank you for reconnecting me to my family. Send breath from the four winds and revive us. Help me protect our common home and love each creature justly, kindly and generously.”

“Blackfooted Ferret” by USFWS Mountain-Prairie. Used with permission.


“Blackfooted Ferret” by USFWS Mountain-Prairie. Used with permission.

Father, we praise you with all your creatures.
They came forth from your all-powerful hand;
they are yours, filled with your presence and your tender love.
Praise be to you!

Son of God, Jesus,
through you all things were made.
You were formed in the womb of Mary our Mother,
you became part of this earth,
and you gazed upon this world with human eyes.
Today you are alive in every creature in your risen glory.
Praise be to you!

Holy Spirit, by your light
you guide this world towards the Father’s love
and accompany creation as it groans in travail.
You also dwell in our hearts
and you inspire us to do what is good.
Praise be to you!

Triune Lord,
wondrous community of infinite love,
teach us to contemplate you
in the beauty of the universe,
for all things speak of you.
Awaken our praise and thankfulness
for every being that you have made.
Give us the grace to feel profoundly joined
to everything that is.

God of love, show us our place in this world
as channels of your love
for all the creatures of this earth,
for not one of them is forgotten in your sight.
Enlighten those who possess power and money
that they may avoid the sin of indifference,
that they may love the common good,
advance the weak,
and care for this world in which we live.
The poor and the earth are crying out.
O Lord, seize us with your power and light,
help us to protect all life,
to prepare for a better future,
for the coming of your Kingdom
of justice, peace, love and beauty.
Praise be to you!
Amen.

–   A Christian Prayer in Union with Creation, from Encyclical Letter, Laudato Si’ of the Holy Father Francis on Care for Our Common Home, May 2015

References:
Text taken largely word for word from Ezekiel 37:1-14 (NIV) except for “bone of my bone. . .” from Genesis 2:23; and “My mouth is dry. All my bones are out of joint.” from Psalm 22:14,15.
Special thanks to Tim Fretheim, who shared his sermon prep on Ezekiel 37 while on a bike ride with Fred and me, and to Marcia Fretheim who led our last silent retreat on this passage.

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This is the second of a series of four posts written by Esther Hizsa. Posts three and four will be posted next week.

esther hizsaEsther Hizsa is a spiritual director, retreat speaker and writer. She is a member of SoulStream contemplative community and helps facilitate their Living from the Heart course. She and her husband, Fred, live in Burnaby, B.C.They have two married children and two grandchildren.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows: © Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013, 2014, 2015.  http://www.estherhizsa.wordpress.com

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