November 11, 2018

Reading John 11:32-44 (NRSV)

In today’s reading, Mary and Martha grieve over the death of their brother Lazarus. They weep.

“Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

Perhaps they mean this as a statement of faith. They believe Jesus can heal the sick.

But their statement may also mean accusation. Jesus, you could have prevented this!

We, too, may blame God for loss. Young people die in a mass shooting; others burn in raging wildfires. Conflicts across the globe result in tragedy. Loved ones die.

O, God, where are you??

In today’s reading Jesus responds to their lament. Jesus sees the mourners weeping and is greatly disturbed in spirit; he is deeply moved. Jesus weeps.

Why should Jesus weep when he knows the positive outcome? Jesus thanks God for hearing him, calls Lazarus to come out, and gives the mourners tasks to help Lazarus go forth.

Likewise, God hears us. God weeps with us when we mourn. God calls for us to come out from our spiritual tombs. God gives us tasks to help each other into new life.

When people ask where God is in tragedy, assure them with your presence that God is here.

Let us pray. O, God, thank you for assuring us that you are here. You hear our lament. You weep with us in mourning. Help us to comfort each other as you comfort us, calling us out of our tombs, and helping us into new life. Amen.

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