By The Rev. Sam Lloyd
Maybe the biggest and best claim our scriptures make is that God is there in the darkness and struggle of our lives. John 11 gives us the unforgettable story of Jesus raising his old friend Lazarus out of death. When Lazarus is stricken, his sisters Mary and Martha send for Jesus, who doesn’t arrive in time. ‘If only you had gotten here sooner,’ they exclaim.
“If only…” Isn’t that what we so often think? ‘Things could have been different if only God had been there for me.’ In our world there are losses and sadness aplenty. Every flower fades, every human being dies, every newspaper brings reports of tragedy.
But into this death-haunted world God breathes new life. Jesus arrives at his old friend’s tomb and commands, “Lazarus, come out!” Then as the mummy-like figure emerges and booms again, “Unbind him, and let him go!”
Something about Jesus hates death. “I am the resurrection and the life,” he says to Martha. “Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live.” He’s about to go into death himself, but here he is saying that to be close to him, to know and trust him, is to be in touch with a power greater than any dying.
Even when God seems far away, Psalm 77 says, we can trust the One who has never deserted us. ‘Stay close to me,’ Jesus is telling us, ‘and you can go through anything.’
What are the tombs you have faced in your life? Where are you bound now? What would it mean for Jesus’ resurrection to come alive in your life?
Lord Jesus, you are the Lord of life and death. Give me the grace to trust you in my hardest times, and to cling to you and the power of your resurrection; in your Holy Name I pray. Amen
The Rev. Sam Lloyd, III is priest-in-charge of Trinity Church, Copley Square in Boston