Posted on Mar 26, 2020

29 March 2020

This weekend we get the great story of Jesus and Lazarus.

It is a long story densely packed with many happenings and many meanings.

It may be difficult to get at exactly what the whole point is.

The best friend of Jesus dies Jesus is away hiding.

He arrives late, too late even for the burial,

and everyone around him is ready to point an accusing finger.

First it is Martha and Mary,

who can’t understand all this, their grief gets in the way.

They point their fingers at Jesus: “Lord if you had been here.

Lord you should have stopped this, why didn’t you?”

Then the people in the crown began to murmur,

“Surely he loved this man, he could have done something,

why didn’t he stop this death?”

I wonder how often we feel that way,

That God should do something.

When we are faced with situations or events, or feelings we don’t understand.

When we don’t understand the violence, the pain, suffering or death, this Corona Virus.

How often do we cry out:  “Lord if you had been here?”

Then we are told Jesus goes to the tomb.

There he is shaken by the most violent emotions, he weeps.

From somewhere deep inside him he cries out too.


let them know, let them know that you are not far off,

that you are as close as their next breath.


And he does.

Where was God?  There all along.

All of us who are on this Lenten journey should learn not to give up on God too soon.


That God does not get in the way of all those things we don’t understand.

RATHER:  God always calls us out of our experiences to new life.

     God is not a force pushing against time and free choice but a future

calling out to us, “Come out, come here, toward me.”

For all of us it is very natural to cling to the way

things used to be,

to want to stop time right here, or back 10 or 20 years ago or even a year ago,

whenever we were most comfortable.

But for all of us who want to be Christian,

God calls out to put off our old selves,

to be made anew, not just once, but everyday.


It is hard to let go of pain and suffering, of disappointments and setbacks.

It is hard to stop clinging to the past

and come to the new life that God provides.

Perhaps hardest of all it is difficult to believe that new life lies ahead.

We are tempted to see only the end, only destruction.

Which may be the real point of today’s gospel.

Jesus asks Martha a very pointed question when she points her accusing finger at him:

“Do you believe that I am the resurrection and the life?”

That is our question today, especially as we anticipate Passionnext weekend.

Do we believe?

Do we believe that out of the past, out of death can come new life?

A final by the way note.

In the beginning of the Gospel John is very careful

to point out that Thomas is one of the disciples who goes with Jesus to see Lazarus.

And of course you will remember that Thomas will later need proof that

Jesus has been raised, that life can come from death.