8th November 2013

Included In God’s Vision 

“Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel.”
Ezekiel 37:11 (NIV UK)
 

“At some points in the trench, bones pierced through their shallow burial, and skulls appeared like mushrooms”, wrote poet Edmund Blunden in Undertones of War (first published by Penguin Books in 1928), remembering how, as a seventeen year old, he first encountered the macabre images of trench life in 1916. 

Blunden’s description is reminiscent of the vision that God gave to the prophet Ezekiel. Ezekiel saw a valley full to overflowing with dry bones. The bones represented the whole of the house of Israel. No matter how the people had lived or how they had died, faithful or faithless, they were included in this vision. Israel is a type of all humanity: by projection all of us, Jew or Gentile, believer or non-believer, are included in this vision. 

When God asked Ezekiel, “Son of man, can these bones live?” Ezekiel replied, “O Sovereign Lord, you alone know” (37:3). Ezekiel was right – only God knows. Science and philosophy have not provided an answer. Without God we are clueless. 

God made his intent for the dead clear to Ezekiel: “when I open up your graves and bring you up from them, I will put my Spirit in you and you will live” (37:14). Paul talks about this in 1 Corinthians 15. He tells us that Jesus is the embodiment of this resurrection promise. He explains that Jesus has overcome death and its limitations. The human resurrection is a participation in Christ’s resurrection. Jesus is “the last Adam, a life-giving spirit” (1 Corinthians 15:45). 

In many parts of the world this weekend there will be remembrance ceremonies. Powerful emotions about the sadness and futility of war will come once again into play, echoing “the voices of despair and endurance and anger” (from the introduction Scars upon my Heart, by Judith Kazantzis) that have been silenced not just in the Great War but also in every human conflict. 

Will the dead find their voice again? The Bible says that in Christ the answer is yes. All of us, dead or alive, are included in God’s vision of abundant life. In Jesus hate changes into love, death into life, loss into gain, and war into peace. 

Let our remembrance be about how in Jesus there is hope for the dead. 

Prayer
Father, thank you for including all of us in your vision of eternal life in Christ Jesus. In his name.
Amen
 

Study by James Henderson

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About the Author:
James Henderson is the National Ministry Leader for Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland.  This weekend James is speaking at our Watford Congregation.  You are welcome to attend any of our Church congregations located throughout the UK.  For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.wcg.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

Contact:
Email:  admin@daybyday.org.uk

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