Is your word – my word? Let’s see if it is. . .
Jesus stands outside the stone-cold tomb where Lazarus’ body has been lying for four days.
And in spite of the warnings there will be a stench – and the affirmation of the fact that Lazarus has been dead for four days – significant – because the Jews thought the Spirit of a person hovered over them for 3 days after their death – the indication being Lazarus’ was REALLY dead - -and his spirit is long gone. . .
In spite of this – Jesus boldly cries out in a loud voice: “Lazarus: come out!” And Lazarus did come out of the tomb - still tied hand and foot with burial cloths – and Jesus says to those standing around: “Untie him and let him go.”
Jesus called Lazarus forth to NEW LIFE - which gives me my word, or rather words for the week: NEW LIFE.
Because not only does Jesus call Lazarus forth to new life - -he continually calls us – not just during these 40 days of Lent - -and the 50 days of Easter – isn’t nice that Easter lasts longer than Lent? That the feasting lasts longer than the fasting??
Jesus calls us forth to new life now – and throughout our lives.
We are constantly called through the process of conversion - day after day - week after week - year after year – over a lifetime – to always be willing to embrace NEW LIFE – to leave the past behind and commit ourselves to becoming more and more like Jesus.
It is a calling – we have to be willing and able to hear Jesus say: come out! So we have to be listening – the word for the first Sunday of Lent.
And then we have to be open to the help and support of others as “Jesus said to them: Untie him, and let him go” - the word for the 2nd Sunday of Lent = support: who is going to help unbind us as we come out of the tomb??
So through the support of others and quite possibly through the challenges of those we may not alway agree with or be friends with – the Samaritans we meet along our journey of life – so the word for the 3rd Sunday of Lent = engagement.
Even by our engagement with – and quite possibly the engagement we NEED with those who are different from us - who stretch us a bit, who get us out of our comfort zones – we have to be unbound – we have to release our former ways of thinking, acting, judging, criticizing, being and behaving – not because we want to – but because we have to – if we want to enjoy NEW LIFE.
And of course we have to be willing to affirm the fact that Jesus, the one we worship – actually achieves these things within us through the power of the Holy Spirit: not us doing these things on our own.
And so here is the picture for the week: NEW LIFE! Which is about to burst forth for us as we move into spring.
And here are some things to reflect on:
Are we always ready to be drawn to something bigger than ourselves – or are we content to stay in our set ways – the confines of our dark tombs?
How is Christ calling each of us to “come out” to new life?
And what do we need to let go of in order to enjoy the new life Christ is offering us?
Who is Christ placing in our lives to “untie us and let us go?” Or would we rather hang out with those who bind us with their prejudices, hates, misunderstandings, and cruel words often coming in forms of jokes?
How are we different now than when we began this Lenten journey?
And how can we all be a little different by the time Pentecost rolls around – and what will we need to do to get there?
NEW LIFE – isn’t something we all want?? And eventually, through the grace and mercy of God - we will all one day enjoy new life which will last for all eternity.
Moments in time...