“He led me back and forth among them…”

I read Ezekiel 37:1-14 today in my morning readings. It is a passage I’ve read several times. It is a great text. I am aware of its placement in Ezekiel and how it is an early notification of the resurrection hope of Israel. It is a powerful story.

One phrase that “bubbled to the top” was how God not only asked Ezekiel to look upon the valley of dry bones, but God led Ezekiel to walk back and forth among them. Ezekiel was intimately aware of the deadness of the bones, not just from a reserve, general, cognitive-posture, but a literal, experiential, and acclimated distance.

Much of Evangelicalism is private, personal, and withdrawn. We stress a personal commitment to Jesus, notifying personal spiritual gifts, personal and quiet devotional times, private prayer life, etc.

Much of the Biblical narrative is connected, communal, and interlaced with others. A stunning image of the NT ecclesiology is found in Galatians 6:2, where after Paul has attempted to convince the Galatians to withdraw from Law-based righteousness, gives another “law” for the believers to follow, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” The image in the Greek for “carry” is to “stake or fasten together.” The image I find useful is how we tie a string from a tree trunk to a stake so a young tree is braced from the strong winds and has a chance to grow up strong and straight.

Find a Christian believer who has a habit to be led back and forth among those destitute, hurting, and vulnerable, you will also find a person who walks in the steps of Christ. This dear one will be less dramatic, more benevolent. This disciple will not just know the particulars of things like incarnational theology, but will also experience the thrill of meeting with the Incarnate Christ among those who need Him. (Matt 25:31-46)

May we be led to walk back and forth among the brokenness of our world today, but also like Ezekiel, know the hope of resurrection and the dream that God is putting the world back together.

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