The people of Japan have had the desperation of seeing life die before their eyes: The Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki left nothing but ‘dry bones’. Yet, 65 years later, Japan has been able to re-discover life. This life is very different from what was known before World War II in the Pacific. There is no Emperor, no militaristic sloganeering, and no arrogance. Instead this is a nation of deep respect for life, of friendly greetings, and of hard working people. A hopeless nation has rediscovered hope. While this is nowhere explicitly stated as the work of God (and the Japanese people might shake their heads in puzzlement at this description) – the traditions of the Bible speak of a Creator who enables dry bones to come back to life:
Ezekiel 37 uses the imagery of “bones’ to offer hope to a hopeless nation. At the time that this was written, the nation, the holy city of Jerusalem and the Temple all lay in ruins. Ezekiel insists that this is not the end – but is rather the beginning of a new thing that God is about to do. God will breathe life into the “dry bones” and they will come back to life. We who follow Jesus add the story of Easter – a time where the dry bones came back to life. The story of Jesus invites us to discover a promise of an open grave, of new life, of a fresh beginning.
May the journey of Holy Week shift the “old bones” inside of us. May they begin rattling and shaking; may they come together; may they shed their dryness; and may we find life.
Breathe on me, breath of God,
Blend all my soul with Thine,
Until this earthly part of me
Glows with Thy fire divine.
Edwin Hatch, 1878;
Easter SundayChrist Lives
Scripture reading taken from A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants p.142