Red and white tulips on the Cathedral grounds

John 11:28-44

When she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, and told her privately, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” And when she heard it, she got up quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. The Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary get up quickly and go out. They followed her because they thought that she was going to the tomb to weep there. When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus began to weep. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

This gospel story is one of my favorites because it speaks to me on so many different levels. In the story, we encounter the humanity of Jesus on full display. Jesus loves his dear friends Mary, Martha, and Lazarus and is “…greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved” upon encountering Mary and their friends weeping in grief over Lazarus’ death. In response, Jesus weeps. I believe we can all identify with that depth of empathy and grief, particularly over the course of the past year.

When Jesus goes to the tomb where Lazarus has now been dead four days, he cries, “Lazarus, come out!” To the utter amazement of everyone, Lazarus leaves death behind in the tomb and walks out to new life. In my own Lenten journey, I am reflecting upon and praying about what I need to let die and leave in the tomb in order to receive the promise of Easter resurrection and new life in Christ Jesus.

Good Friday and Calvary are just six days away in our Lenten journey. What in your life needs to die in order for you to experience new life? Take it to the tomb with Lazarus where you will meet Jesus to help you let those things go. May we all hear Jesus cry to us: “Lazarus, come out; Jan, come out!” Come out into the light, new life, renewed, restored, and ready to go.

In faith,

There is a balm in Gilead, to make the wounded whole, there is a balm in Gilead, to heal the sin sick soul.

Sometimes I feel discouraged, and think my work’s in vain, but then the Holy Spirit revives my soul again.

There is a balm in Gilead, to make the wounded whole, there is a balm in Gilead, to heal the sin sick soul.

(Afro-American spiritual The Hymnal 1982)