EW's "Living Bones"
About a month ago, I was writing the litany for Ecumenical Women’s opening worship for the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). In the first draft of the refrain, I wrote, “Shower the earth with your justice, O God, and invest life into the bodies of your people.” Bringing it to Kathleen Stone, the chaplain at the Church Center for the United Nations, I, a white, privileged, upper-middle class (by American standards), North American woman, expressed my timidity about using the word “justice” so liberally in the refrain. “What is justice, anyway?” I thought to myself, “and how do I feel about a God who openly distributes justice upon God’s enemies? What does it mean for God to have enemies?”
As I expressed these perusings to Kath, she paused before commenting. When she spoke, it was reminiscent of what my Exegesis professor at Union Theological Seminary would later say about Ezekiel 37:1-14. For those people who have witnessed the ravaging of their homes, who have experienced the debilitating scourge of poverty upon their bodies and communities, and whose flesh has been torn and wounded—indeed, for those who have seen the “dry bones” of Ezekiel—the word “justice” is never too strong a word to use. In these situations, when humanity is hampered by our inability to distribute justice, it is God who must distribute justice. The women who would be reciting my litany have seen these dry bones, and they have come to the CSW to right the injustices of this valley. With these women in mind, Kath and I changed the refrain to “Thunder the earth with your justice, O God, and invest life into the bodies of your people.”