What we call "renewal" is often in need of "resurrection." We're not dealing with churches that are old, as much as dead (see Rv 3:1). They've been dead a long time but their age is not as significant as their condition. Dead bones is the issue, not dry bones. If we're dealing with something old, we try to spruce it up, repair it, or modernize it. If we're facing something dead, it's a totally different matter. How can dead bones come to life?
The Lord "said to me: Prophesy over these bones, and say to them: Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!...See! I will bring Spirit into you, that you may come to life" (Ez 37:4-5). The resurrection-ministry, so needed in our churches, begins with prophecy. Possibly this is why we are commanded to seek above all the gift of prophecy (1 Cor 14:1). The word of prophecy commands the dead church to "hear the word of the Lord" (Ez 37:4). "He wills to bring us to birth with a word spoken in truth" (Jas 1:18). "Your rebirth has come...through the living and enduring word of God" (1 Pt 1:23).
After life is quickened through the word, the Lord brings the Spirit into us, and an entombed Church is birthed and becomes again the Church of Pentecost. Thus the work is not making the old new but making the dead alive. The Lord "said to me: Prophesy to the Spirit...and say to the Spirit:...From the four winds come, O Spirit, and breathe into these slain that they may come to life. I prophesied as He told me, and the Spirit came into them; they came alive" (Ez 37:9-10).
|Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant the Imprimatur ("Permission to Publish") for One Bread, One Body covering the period from August 1, 2006 through September 30, 2006.
†Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 26, 2006.