Do you ever have a Sunday when you're at church & the words of the Scripture/sermon just penetrate your heart? This past Sunday was that for me.
The Gospel reading was Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Growing up, I always really wrestled with this miracle of Jesus: why did Jesus allow Lazarus to die if knew He would raise him again? Yes I believed and Jesus can do anything, but it was always a tough one for me to wrap my heart around.
I relate so much with the words Martha said to Jesus (perhaps in anger or frustration) "Lord if you had been here my brother would not have died!" How many times have I cried out that to Jesus in the midst of pain or suffering: "Jesus, what the heck?! Where are you, if You had been here with me this never would have happened."
The words the priest shared made me look at this particular miracle of Jesus with a new sense of awe. Jesus shows the crowd and Lazarus' sisters that nothing has power over us, even death. God brings something out of nothing. always. Just as Jesus called out to a dead man in his grave, He calls out to each of us. To rise and get out of the grave in our lives. Graves of sin, selfishness, bondage, pain, suffering, confusion, loneliness...to leave the dark, stench of death behind and walk out into the light...into a new life. Scripture says when Lazarus arose and came out of the grave he was bound up by the burial cloths.
What binds me up? What holds me back from getting out of my grave? FEAR. Fear of the unknown, pain, suffering, that things will 'always be this way'. I think the most scary thing in life is to live without hope, to be stuck in the darkness of despair. But that is one thing that makes Christians different, we have hope; hope that death/the grave isn't the end of the story...but rather it is the fulfillment of the story.
As I sat in church next to my husband, there hangs a giant life-size crucifix above the altar. It was such a comfort to sit and stare at Jesus hanging on the cross. The grave is not the end, and He so desires to bring me out the graves in my own life. Jesus calls me by own name, just as He did with Lazarus.
So let's do this Jesus. Help me walk out of the graves in my life. Call me by my name. I want to walk into the light and know in the deepest part of me that darkness never ever overcomes the light.
In the midst of life's decay, come and rescue me!
Awake O Sleeper...Christ is calling my name...