One day I had been at our church with my three kids, finished up what I was working on and told the kids, “Let’s go.” Seeing them walk out the doors, I set the alarm and locked the building. We don’t live far from the church so we walked home. We had been home about 15 minutes when my daughter, Asha, burst through the back door. She started yelling, “You locked me in the church!” Oops!
All this time I had thought Asha was upstairs in her room since we had gotten home but obviously I was mistaken. In fact, she had been downstairs in the church nursery when we left the church and set the alarm. After a little while, she left the nursery to see where we were. Once she left, she tripped a motion sensor downstairs. The alarm started to sound at a really high frequency. She ran upstairs and tried frantically to open the front door but couldn’t because it was locked. Fortunately, she saw one of our church members outside working on the landscape so she began to pound on the windows to be let out. The church member came to her aid, opened the door and turned off the alarm. Asha was pretty shaken when she got back to our house and couldn’t believe her mother had locked her in the church. This incident became a story Asha loves to tell. We laugh about it now, but I also realize God has used it recently to show me some principles from His Word.
I can only imagine Asha’s first reaction to the alarm going off. It must have catapulted her body into action. She ran! I am guessing she must have raced up the stairs to see what was going on. The noise signaled that something was wrong. On any other day walking out of the nursery wouldn’t have set off the alarm, but this day was different. There was a loud sound, and it was followed by movement—her response to it.
Lately, I have been reading and reflecting on Ezekiel 37. This chapter is often referred to as the dry bones passage. It was written by the prophet Ezekiel who was given a vision. In it, the Lord took him to a valley full of dry bones. There the Lord told him to prophesy to the bones and tell them that breath would enter them, then tendons, flesh and skin would come upon them and they would live. (The inference here is that dry bones signify bones that have no life in them.) The first step in this process starts in Ezekiel 37:7 which says, "So, I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone."
Before the breath of God came and brought life to the bones, there was sound. And it was followed by movement! When Ezekiel first saw them, the bones were lying on the valley floor lifeless, but then in response to the prophetic word, they became upright, “they lived, and stood up upon their feet” (v.10). What struck me meditating on this passage was that as Ezekiel prophesied as the Lord had commanded him to, “there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone” (v.7). There was a physical change after there was a literal rattling sound.
I believe that when the Lord begins to speak to us, there will and should be a change in the physical or natural realm—in our bodies, in our spirits, in our churches, in our neighborhoods, in our world. We ought not stay the same when God begins to speak! He is calling us to respond.
Asha did not stay motionless when the alarm started to sound in the church. She quickly got into motion. She changed positions. She literally jumped!
My prayer is that when God starts to move in our lives that unhealthy patterns in us will change, that we will move from death to life, just as the bones did! That we will take action when the Lord calls us, just as the bones did! That each of us in the church will come together in anticipation of what the Lord will do, just as the bones did!
The Lord is sounding the alarm. Let’s move. Let’s come together. Let’s be the church God is calling us to be!