The raising of Lazarus gives us the perfect window to see beyond the present crisis, to see how God’s grace and freedom persists.
freedom persists beyond the crisis
Lent 5A | John 11:1-45
Can I just say, this is a crazy gospel to read during a pandemic?
“This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Yikes! I don’t want to go anywhere near that!
But…what do I always say? If it hurts to read, we must address it.
So before we go anywhere, we should make it clear. God doesn’t use disease to punish or reward. Nor should we put God to the test. That’s been a big theme throughout Lent. And again last week, when we talked about the Man who was blind from birth.
Nor should we look at our present pandemic as somehow glorifying God. Or intended by God to be a grotesque sign of a reality we must twist to make look good.
We shall not gather a thousand people or even ten people in one place—only to find that such gatherings become epicenters of outbreak. These foolish decisions have been the source of outbreaks throughout the world since January.
Instead, we should see our own crisis with a very specific illness through the generous lens of those faithful people in this story. People who were watching their beloved brother and friend die in their midst.
That alone is instructive. Their experience is the most powerful truth of this story. And it is their assumptions about God that lead to their own misery.
So we must look, not through a rigidly literal lens, or one that projects a cruel purpose onto God. But perhaps through the instructive lens of revealing God’s presence in the midst of suffering.
A story about life, death, and compassion…
The full text may be found here.
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