For the past few nights, I have laid awake, anxious. Anxious about the world. Anxious about my family. Anxious about being out of rhythm. Anxious about what if I get this thing… wondering what my outcomes would be… wondering if I do fall ill who will take care of my family? What if my family gets this thing…
what if, what if…
and I am angry and frustrated at leadership that was reactive and not proactive. For a virus that is better stopped being proactive. And people are dying because of it. Hospitals are overwhelmed because of it. Medical workers are at risk because of it.
And deep down I know the truth I know… that this will affect me… it will affect everyone.
I sit here on this overcast morning with the gospel lectionary text of the week. The story of Lazarus being raised from the dead. Asking in the midst of what I and others are feeling… what hope do these words offer to me? What hope might these words offer to the world?
Today this reading has less to do with Lazarus being raised from the dead… and more to do about the comfort and care a friend offers to another.
There is no doubt that Jesus was close to this family of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. He deeply cared about them. He was like one of their family.
“The Lord the one whom you loved is ill”… “Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.” Jesus referred to Lazarus as “his friend.”
Not a follower, not a disciple, but a friend.
Martha and Mary, just like many of us, are frustrated. Frustrated that their friend is nowhere to be seen. Frustrated that when they needed Jesus most… he wasn’t there.
Good friends provide space for conflict and frustration. In fact, that is what draws the roots deeper.
When Jesus finally arrives… Martha’s response with my paraphrase, “where the hell were you?!?!”
Jesus provides a wide-breadth to feel. Jesus lets things get personal. Jesus doesn’t say, “Martha you shouldn’t feel that…” or, “I thought we were friends and friends to don’t get upset at each other.”
He is there, present in the midst of his friend's grief, anxiety, questions.
We find Jesus in the midst of all our emotions crying with us while at the same time saying to them and to us, “it will be alright.”
And saying phrases that are probably more troubling than good, “it is for God’s glory.”
It’s God’s glory that we have a pandemic? It’s for God’s glory Lazarus is dead?
Or is it for God’s glory that God's presence comes forth out of us when our worlds go to hell?
For God’s glory when we sense God’s presence in our togetherness in facing unforeseen circumstances?
So while many of us are anxious, angry, scared, frustrated… I am going to try my best… to let myself be real before a God that is big enough for that kind of stuff… the God we call friend… but I am also going to try to listen.
Jason (enter your name), it will be alright.