Rev. Michele (Mimi) Luebbers
The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?”
I answered, “O Lord God, you know....”
Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act, says the Lord.”
I have been advocating for people with disabilities since I was a teenager, but it wasn’t until my recent hip replacement surgery that I, myself, have experienced firsthand what it is to live with mobility challenges. I recognize that my condition is only temporary, but for many individuals, facing these issues of accessibility and acceptance is a permanent way of life. For me, the presence of pain and fatigue, and my forced dependence on others has been a grueling exercise in humility. I am realizing that I make a much more patient care giver than receiver. Yet, as one of my friends who lives with profound physical disabilities likes to remind me, the kin-dom of God is designed as one of interdependence.
As I struggle to bear weight on my brand-new titanium hip bone and strain to pull myself up to standing these first few times following surgery, God asks me, “Can these bones live again?” And I respond, “Lord God, only you know.” Then, I remember that when I trust God enough to do what I am being called, no commanded, to do, that is when I feel most alive, when things come together for me, when they really start to click, or should I say “rattle.”
Sooner or later, we will all find ourselves in the valley of dry bones, feeling frustrated, discouraged, hopeless, even cut off from God. Yet, that is when the Lord God promises, “You shall know that I am the Lord when I open your graves and bring you up from your graves, O my people. I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live.” And so, I stumble weakly and awkwardly forward, clutching onto my walker, as I do my faith, for dear life, knowing that the Lord has spoken and will act.
When we find ourselves in the valley of dry bones, at a loss for hope and feeling completely cut off from you, come breathe your holy, healing, spirit into us. Then, we will rise up and live again, co-creators with you in communities of inclusion and belonging.
(Ezekiel 37.1-14, New Revised Standard Version, Updated Edition. Copyright © 2021 National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Lutheran Bible 1534, Illustration of Ezekiel 37: The resurrection of the dead bones of Israel by workshop of Lucas Cranach. Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain.)