Sunday, March 13, 2005

When the Messiah lets you down...

Sometimes death sits on my chest like a heavy weight as I drift off to sleep. He reminds me that the beating of my own heart could stop in a moment, that my children could be taken from me suddenly, or that I could be left a widow. He reminds me that my parents whom I love will not always be a phone call and a short drive away. Death is a thief who walks off with your hopes and your dreams and smothers them out of pure meanness. Death is waiting for us all, even those of us who live with the promise of eternal life with Jesus. Life now is just a temporary gift, a vapor that vanishes, a brief glimmer of a flashlight underneath a night sky stuffed with shining lights. Death is always just outside the door kept at bay only by the mercies of God.

Today I have not been able to forget you, Lazarus. You are a good friend of Jesus', and the brother of two of the liveliest and spiritual women remembered in the New Testament. Mary, the unofficial rabbinical student learning at Jesus' feet, the follower who washed His feet with perfume and her own hair, is always remembered for her passion. And Martha, that bustling dynamo, has a servant's heart which makes her a most gracious hostess. Both of these women care for you devotedly, even as you lay sick and dying and longing for Jesus to come. If your best friend is the Messiah, the one who assures you that the Kingdom of God is at hand while sitting at your table, surely you will have an "in" with him? This miracle worker has restored sight to blind strangers, cleansed leprous outsiders and released the posssessed of their demons. When you send word of your situation, surely He will hurry to heal you who are like a brother to him!

And yet he delays. Word has gotten to him...you're sure of it, and still he does not come. Why? And your breaths grow shorter and your life slips away from you as your sisters sit beside you, praying and crying. Where is Jesus? Why has he not come? What do you think as you close your eyes in death? What crushing despair do your sisters feel as they prepare for your funeral and burial?

And yet what surprises you have in store even as you lay lifeless and decaying in a closed tomb. Jesus arrives--late-- and he grieves openly. He weeps over the pain of death, the result of sin and decay, even as He looks ahead to His victory over death. Jesus has allowed you to die, just as He would later allow himself to die. And then He foolishly has them roll the stone away and shouts into the grave, "Lazarus, come out!" He then raises you up as he will raise us all up on the last day. You come out wrapped in the grave clothes to the wonder and amazement of everyone there. You will, of course, die again and await your final resurrection while Jesus, the Resurrected one, sits at the right hand of God the Father, awaiting the time of His return.

As I think of you, Lazarus, I sit also under the benediction of John who wrote:
Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father–to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen. (Rev. 1:4-6)

Micah Girl

5 Comments:

Blogger ~m2~ said...

that was awesome.

our priest today, who had an homily that brought tears to my eyes, said at one point: nobody wonders about lazarus - what were his thoughts, feelings - going back to his ordinary life after an extraordinary event! what about him?

he was here for a purpose too, so that God may be glorified. he curried some big time favor when Jesus chose to use him as an example for all. pretty neat on him.

6:11 PM  
Blogger spiritual ingenue said...

Wow.

It's so hard to comprehend that Jesus weeps with us even as he knows the end from the beginning. That is so telling of the way He is always with us in the moment.

This is beautiful.

Blessings,
Jan

10:35 PM  
Blogger MicahGirl said...

Thanks, Martha and Jan! I appreciate both of your comments (and your blogs!) so much.

Micah Girl

4:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a blessing to know God's timing is always perfect as was the case in the raising of Lazarus as well as Jesus' own death and resurrection. I am comforted to know that God's timing in my life is perfect, to know the value of waiting upon him. Even when our own death comes upon us his timing will be perfect as we await our reunion with him.

7:13 PM  
Blogger MicahGirl said...

I recognize you, anonymous, and appreciate your thoughts, girlfriend!

Micah Girl

9:39 AM  

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