Dry Bones is one of my favorite scripture readings. I suspect because long ago I heard it read by a skilled Lector who brought the story amazing alive. I can still sense the evocation of winds, rattling bones, and emerging layers of flesh, and rush of breath.
Rush forward some decades and I drew a connection between the valley of dry bones, and the dead marshes in Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers. It is the site of the Battle of Dagorlad at the end of the Second Age. Only here the bodies of the dead are preserved by the cold waters of encroaching swamps. As they traverse the dismal place Frodo and Samwise are warned not to touch the bodies else they risk falling to their own death.
The landscapes could not be more different: one dessert, arid, and desiccating, the other swap, cold, and sullen waters. Neither could they be more alike: both the scenes of long forgotten battles, where myriads fell and lie forgotten, given over to the ravages of time.
It is the stories that capture the imagination. The bodies forsake in the dead marshes are forever forsaken. There is no hope. While the bones of the valley, are not. There is hope for them for I, the Lord, have spoken and will act,” says the Lord.
That ruah (breath, wind, spirit) came and desiccated, detached bones ḥāyâ (revive) is improbable in its day. Today it is all the more improbable. But no more improbable than Creator God expending inconceivable force of love by which dust assembles and ruah brings ḥāyâ (life) for the first time. Therein lies hope beyond all understanding, for I, the Lord, have spoken and will act – actually has and continues to act.
5th in Lent, Dry Bones, Lord of Rings, death, life, hope, ruah,