Stones, Bones, Words, Life.

No more stone heart.

It’s not a particularly punchy or easy to remember name, although it does get cred for featuring a natural element (it seems the business name game is strong these days when two flora/fauna/raw materials are combined: twig + linen, bird + twine, narwhal + pomegranate etc. Bonus points for woodland animals.)

I got it from the Bible, actually. In the rarely-thumbed book of Ezekiel, chapters 36 and 37. Ezekiel is a prophet during the time that God’s people, the Israelites, are in exile. At one point, the Lord speaks to Ezekiel of the future of Israel: they won’t always be in exile, under the rule of a foreign power, working fruitless land that doesn’t belong to them. God speaks of cleansing, growth, plenty. And He says, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26).

In the next chapter, God takes Ezekiel to a valley filled with dried out, sun-scorched skeletons, and, as only God could do, He puts tendons and flesh and skin on them bones. He breathes life into them. God says, this is what I’m going to do with my people who are dried out and hopeless and dead. I’ll breathe them back to life, I’ll lead them into flourishing once again.

Caveat: I’m no Old Testament scholar; I can’t tell you if the dry bones thing really happened or was a vision; I won’t try to interpret these scriptures as an isolated chunk without context or authority.

But when I read these verses, in full admission that my understanding is simple and my mind wanders and wonders alike, I’m captured. I’m curious. I thirst.

Because I have a heart that gets dry. I feel it get crusty. My heart is hardened, as an exile on earth when heaven is home.

I crave that heart of flesh, washed and softened and pumping with life. I yearn for the Spirit to give me that new breath, that new song, a melody for joy and grief and hope.

No more stone heart.

So I look for that which turns stone to flesh, and I find the Word of God. I’m there with Jesus’ disciples: who else can I turn to? You have the words of eternal life (John 6:68). I stand with the Psalmist: as for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless (Psalm 18:30, 12:6). The word of the Lord creates. It calms. It brings life where life was not.

The antidote to a stone heart is words of Life, and that is what directs my pen and paper. I write out God’s already perfect Words in ways that seek to emphasise and illustrate and colour. It’s like putting a tune to your timetables so you can remember them better. Through No More Stone Heart, I seek to refresh the familiar, amplify anthems, maybe draw your eye to something you hadn’t noticed before.

And yet:

Could we with ink the ocean fill,

And were the skies of parchment made,

Were every stalk on earth a quill,

And every man a scribe by trade;

To write the love of God above

Would drain the ocean dry;

Nor could the scroll contain the whole,

Though stretched from sky to sky.

(Frederick M. Lehman, 1917)

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