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  • Writer's pictureTonya Jewel Blessing

Rattlin’ Bones

In 2008, Shane Nicolson and Kasey Chambers, an Australian couple, wrote and recorded the song “Rattlin’ Bones.” The music is haunting. The lyrics are gripping and shrouded with soul-stirring metaphors. I found the chorus immensely thought provoking. “But I cut my hands and break my back dragging this bag of stones. Till they bury me down beneath the ground with the dust and rattlin’ bones.”

The Book of Ezekiel tells about the Valley of Dry Bones. The Lord set the Prophet Ezekiel in a ravine full of human bones. As Ezekiel walked among the skeletal remains, they began to rattle. The dry bones came together but were without life until God divinely imparted a breeze of breath.

Like the song “Rattlin’ Bones,” in my book, The Whispering of the Willows, I use the metaphor of dry bones and death to depict a traumatizing situation for the book’s heroine, Emerald Ashby. Emie is falsely accused of lewd behavior and is summoned before the church to confess her sins. “I’ve been asked this mornin’ to confess my sins. Well, my sins are many…In the Bible there was a valley of dry bones. The bones were dry because of sin.” In the book, Emie reaches into a satchel and removes two dry bones. She then hears a voice from the back of the sanctuary. “Why, Emie, those bones aren’t like in the Bible. They’re cow knuckles…Charlie bought the pair for a few pennies.” The death bones are used as evidence to bring justice and life. “That day at Big Creek Church the truth was told…When Emie talked about Charlie’s abuse, there wasn’t a dry eye in the place.”

The metaphor of dry bones also has personal application. When physical, spiritual, or emotional death knocks on our door, God is more than able to impart a breeze of breath and restore what seems to be bitter, broken, and barren. Ezekiel prophesied to the dry bones in the valley. As he spoke about God’s greatness the remains began to rattle.

May the Lord bless you and minister His grace to you.

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