Saturday, April 16, 2011

Daily Office Reflection: Tears

Psalms 137:1-6(7-9), 144 * 42, 43; Jeremiah 31:27-34; Romans 11:25-36; John 11:28-44 or John 12:37-50

We are given a choice, like yesterday, in Gospels from which to pick. One is the second half of the account of the raising of Lazarus and the other is Jesus (and the Gospel writer John) talking about why so many people did not publicly believe in Jesus.

In the Lazarus story, Jesus is met outside the village by the dead man's other sister, Mary, who had been sent to him by her sister Martha (who we met in yesterday's reading). She collapses in front of Jesus in exasperation that he hadn't gotten there in time to save her brother. He sees that Mary is quite upset and members of the crowd that had accompanied her were crying. He asks where Lazarus has been placed. Members of the crowd say "Come and see," and Jesus starts to weep. I am struck by John's poetic imagery here. At the start of his Gospel, John has Jesus meet the first of his followers on a road where he asks them "What do you want", and they answer him by asking where he is staying, and Jesus says "Come and see." And we have the same phrase used here just before he raises Lazarus from the tomb. And Jesus weeps.

The other choice of Gospel reading is a chapter later in John where, among other things, John is expounding on why people were secret followers of Jesus as opposed to publicly supportive. John says "Nevertheless, many, even of the authorities, believed in him (Jesus). But because of the Pharisees they did not confess it, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue, for they loved human glory more than the glory that comes from God." And Jesus tells them all that he is not there to judge but to save. And John goes all poetic imagery again by saying that Jesus won't judge but that the word will serve as judge. Harken back to the beginning of this Gospel....In the beginning was the word and the word became flesh and lived among us......

The human Jesus, the one who wept on the walk to Lazarus' tomb, is not judging those who don't believe or are afraid to do so...... the divine, the word is that which will weigh us.... We are all human and make mistakes, hide who we are, what we are, at times from what we can perceive as a hostile world. As we enter into Holy Week tomorrow, we are called to walk out of the shadows, and publicly say to the world "'Come and see' what I have seen and that which I know to be true." March tomorrow in the Palm Sunday sojourns so many churches make around their neighborhoods. Proclaim to all that we are Christian, we are different and world-changers. Defy those who would scorn or punish us for professing this truth. Take a public walk with Jesus, weeping at our side tomorrow, inviting all to Come and see.

A blessed Holy Week journey......

Copyright 2011, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.

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