Suggested Reading ...

As requested by a number of you, herewith a few books that I strongly recommend.

The Case for the Psalms:Why they are Essential - N.T.Wright

Journey to the Common Good - Walter Brueggemann

Gagging Jesus: Things Jesus said we wish he hadn't - Phil Moore

Worship Matters: Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God - Bob Kauflin

The Writings of the New Testament : An Interpretation - Luke Timothy Johnson

These titles I have been able to source through happy reading!

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Home DAILY DEVOTIONS Daily Devotions Can these dry bones live?
Can these dry bones live? PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Grant Nuss   
Tuesday, 05 July 2011 19:45

Ever since our final call to the ministry through a vision of Ezekiel’s call (chapter two) whilst we were living in Dar es Salaam in 2006 the Book has been one of my most favoured. I was reading 37:1-14 over the weekend and scribbled down a few notes viewing its message in a 21st Century Context.

Similar to the audience to which this text is directed, those who had disobeyed the commands of YHWH, and, through their disobedience, selfishness, and without any love extended toward the marginalised among them, we too have lost our way.

If the truth be known many of our congregations and a large portion of our nation remain in exile themselves due to these issues, hopeless, spiritually and politically dead, dry bones being an apt description. These themes, often divorced from each other, are here inseparable and not dissimilar to our experience where we reside in the 21st century.

We consider the influence and ongoing affect of the injustices of apartheid and, where those roles are now reversed, continue to have a marked impact on society, both from a spiritual and a political perspective. Dry bones. Dead? Some would say that there are still people who are convinced that their dry, dead, and disjointed nation would never live again. Although these bones seem beyond repair and renewal though, God has the final say on their restoration and ultimate resurrection.

Similar to the promise made to Israel and their land being restored as well as their covenant with God (37:14), so to do we hear echoes of this within a South African context today. This message too contains a message of hope. Although there is death all around, God carries on his work of restoring the spiritually and politically dead, bringing life to these places. This is the prophetic inspiration we seek, a prophecy that will breathe new life, realign the dry bones within our respective contexts, and ultimately enable us to reconnect the disconnected joints of our limbs.

Can these bones live? It is well and good expounding and implying theories that we assume, from our engagement with this text and exegetical task, are what could be the message for today, but it is ultimately how the audience interpret and apply it. If one considers the spiritual, unbelieving, and also loveless political condition of our world today, the question is one that is open for dialogue. Will the believing minority, who has a real burden for saving the lost souls, be able to reach out and witness to the dry bones? Could we, as Ezekiel did in 13:7 prophesy “as I was commanded”? That we believe, with every nerve and fibre of our being, that this is what we are called to do, and then act upon it?

Perhaps what is called for is imagination. Prophetic imagination. Ultimately, imagination put into action, or, rather, imagination into participation. However, in this 21st century context, it is not the prophet or their imagination that is of paramount importance but that of the audience. This audience is both a spiritual as well as a political one. It is a vision that the audience and reader which, whilst it may sound like fantasy, needs to be recognised as the place where the book of Ezekiel really wants them to be.


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