Thursday, March 6, 2008

Can these bones live?

"Can these bones live?" Lazarus (John 11) moves his now-living bones out of the tomb in answer to Jesus' summons. Recall the phoenix that rises from its own ashes. Dumbledore (in The Chamber of Secrets) gives thanks for Fawkes death saying how bad he has looked in recent weeks and he is grateful for the phoenix's death that it may now rise again. Usually, I prefer to avoid anthropomorphizing God but am wondering if God gives thanks at my many 'deaths' on this journey of the spirit that I may have the opportunity to resurrect?
In Ezekiel 37, God resurrects life and hope in a valley of scattered bones which are cursed by their lack of proper burial. In this vision, as will be true in Israel's history, God's people are formed and re-formed by the re-creative hands of God. Their hope is assured when they look back at their journey and see God's faithful presence which has saved them again and again. We look to the future in hope of God's faithful response, calling it trust when we hope that God will show up somewhere on our journey. Yet Dale Andrews in New Proclamation (Minn:Fortress,2004) says, "When hope is confined to the future, it lacks trust. Hope in a future with God changes the present." Hence, resurrection- new life in the here and now!
My problem continues to be my keen sense of smell that is stopped, like Martha, by the stench of death. I am human, and as such cannot see beyond death. My own fear limits my vision to what I can 'see' instead of believing in what God 'sees'. It takes tremendous trust to believe in my own resurrection; in God's ability to bring new life from death. I must recognize when it is time to leave the comfort of warm ashes and lift my head in trust. St. Paul might tell me that I rise from the waters of baptism the way Fawkes rises from the ashes of death--- to be born again; made new, by the breath of life.
Thanks be to God.

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