Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Skeleton Bones

“6:40,” he says across the phone.  I agree that meeting at this time will allow my husband enough time to eat his dinner and walk from the atrium into the auditorium for the Last Wednesday service at 7:00.  It is 5:15 when I hang up.  I'm in the middle of polishing up two pieces for A Becoming Life.  I am in a groove, worshipping in the middle of words.

I look up at 5:45 and grudgingly set aside the computer to whip up a few turkey burgers.  I pull out the onions, cilantro, paprika and other essentials and dump them into the bowl.  I chop the one ingredient I did not prepare earlier in the week, mix it in and form six uniform patties on a cookie sheet lined with foil, and push them into the oven.  I glance at the clock.  It reads 6:10.  Twenty minutes to bake.  At least fifteen minutes, to drive in rush hour and through construction zone traffic.  I begin to panic.

While the burgers bake, I get everything ready to go.  It’s a nice distraction, really.  I prepare dinner to go, for both Jason and myself, since I certainly will not be eating it before I leave.  I clean up the kitchen.  At least there will not be dishes when we get home, I think, grasping at anything to keep my mind off of the sense of failure that is creeping towards me.

As soon as the timer sounds I pull the burgers out and slap them onto their respective buns and make a mad dash out the door.  As I wait for the slow gates to open at the edge of our apartment’s parking lot I pray for green lights and less traffic than usual.  It doesn’t happen.

“I’m running late,” I call through the phone as I sit in a line of cars waiting to turn onto the highway. 

“Oh good.  So am I,” he responds.

I think to myself, you will not be nearly as late as I am and I should have tried going a different direction to bypass this line.  Then, I take a deep breath and say good-bye.

It is 6:55 when I finally pull into the parking lot.  We eat dinner.  We walk toward the building where the words of our worship leader are coming over the loud speakers as we draw near the doors.  He’s praying a prayer about leaving the day behind.  He is trying to still us as we enter the presence of God as a community. 

My heart is just pounding with the hurry that is coursing through my veins.  We are here to worship.  I want to.  That is why we planned to come.  That is why we are here.  And yet, the last thing I feel ready to do is that.  Where did that peace and sense of His presence I felt as I sat tapping away the words go?

I’m agitated at my tardiness and failure to get us fed like I agreed to.  I’m annoyed with my husband who is saying he needs eye drops badly and is asking if I have any.  I just want to find a seat and there don’t seem to be many of those left tonight.  I don’t think pausing to scream would help, though it might if I could just go into the bathroom and cry for a bit.

We finally find a seat on the side where we can’t see real well, just enough.  Jason runs off to find allergy drops around the corner at the Meijer.  I stand and let the music roll over me and listen, because I’m just not in a very worshipful way of being.  Instead of joyous at heart I’m disgruntled and frustrated.  I’m trying to find my way back.

I pause and call out an honest prayer in a whisper. 

“God I’m here, but I’m feeling like I was better doing this worship thing at home.  Something about messing up the schedule for dinner and meeting and rushing has just knocked me out of a place of abiding in Your presence.  I know that you are here.  I know that you were there at home.  I know that you were in all the crazy places in between.  You are so generous with your grace.  I need to receive it.  I need to know that arriving just when I did tonight was okay.  I think I cared about being on time more than You did.  I give all this to you.  Meet me here.” 

I take a few deep breaths and just listen to the words that everyone around me is singing.

As they come to the end of the chorus our pastor comes out and begins to read from Ezekiel.

The Lord took hold of me, and I was carried away by the Spirit of the Lord to a valley filled with bones.  He led me all around among the bones that covered the valley floor.  They were scattered everywhere across the ground and were completely dried out.  Then he asked me, “Son of man, can these bones become living people again?”
“O Sovereign Lord,” I replied, “you alone know the answer to that.”
Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to these bones and say, ‘Dry bones, listen to the word of the Lord!   This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again!
He explains that the song we’re singing is really describing the way that the Holy Spirit can fill up our dry bones and allow us to really live.  Right here.  Right now.  If we let Him.

This is what I need to hear.  I am these dry bones.  And I need to be filled with life.  His life.  I receive these words from Scripture.  I receive the words of the song. 

In this place—paused, attentive, waiting—my heart refocuses on Christ.

Again the community around me begins to sing.

Oh let us adore the
Son of Glory drenched in love
Open up your gates before him
Crown Him, stand Him up”

Sometimes this is what discipleship is...refocusing our hearts on Christ.

As they sing the refrain again, I join in, heart ripe with worship.

 Grace and peace be ours in abundance as we seek to worship with right hearts.  May we find that He fills our dry bones with the Holy Spirit.  And in this may we find much joy.

Jessica :)

P.S.  In case you're curious about the song it is "Skeleton Bones" by John Mark McMillan.  McMillan wrote the popular song "How He Loves."  You might like to check him out. 

 I will put flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”  Ezekiel 37:1-6 NLT


  1. I sit tired... I click unknowingly and your blog opens... and I am blessed! God gets me to His heart and whispers encouragement as I trace my wandering through this day in your words... He does guide, go with, give breath, and space to find Him in His Word... and then song sings out into my heart... refreshed...

    thanks... and blessings... Amen and Amen

  2. You're welcome, my friend. I'm glad He's speaking in the midst of my story. I was walking back from Picnic and Pantry this afternoon thinking that I can relate to the people in Scripture like Gideon and Samson and the judges Jason and I are reading about. I'm thankful that He uses the broken ones. :)

  3. Well written and well lived, Jessica. Indeed we spend much of our time trying to find our way back. Thanks for sharing.