A Voice Against Death John 11:1-45

At a time when….

….the cases of Covid-19 (100,000 +) have made the USA the hot spot of the outbreak for the world and continue to rise while medical professionals cry out for supplies and equipment, comes the push to get back to normal for Easter and protect the economy…

….the elderly are considered expendable and should be willing to sacrifice their life for the economy (not a whole lot of support on this from the elderly or those who love their parents and grandparents)….

….the pandemic is declared to be God’s judgment…

….we need to hear a word filled with hope comes the reading for this Sunday from the Gospel of John.  While the above only support death, continued suffering and portray a God of wrath instead of grace, the reading from John tells of Jesus’ presence as the source of life.

Mary and Martha send a message to Jesus that their brother, Lazarus was seriously ill.  Even though Jesus was only about two miles away, he delayed a couple days before coming to them.  When Jesus arrived, emotions were raw because he came too late. Lazarus had been dead for four days to be exact which was significant.  It was considered possible for the soul to return to the body in three days but this was four days.  Lazarus was dead.  Jesus wept with the mourners possibly overcome with their emotion…perhaps seeing the pain of death inflicted…perhaps knowing that the opposition was already seeking ways to get him killed.  The taint of death was unmistakable.  Then Jesus said these amazing words, “”I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.”

The Gospel of John begins telling about the Word which was God and was with God from the very beginning.  The Word which called creation into existence.  Jesus is that Word now standing at the entrance of the tomb calling for Lazarus to come out.  Lazarus came out still wrapped in his burial linens.  Jesus commanded the linens of death to be removed and for Lazarus to be set free.

These days much of life is in crisis.  We worry about economic well being.  We worry about getting sick.  We worry about our loved ones getting sick.  The voices that minimize the risks to others and which tell of sacrificing life to another god (economy) are not voices speaking of life.  They are the voices of politics and power that have the taint of death.  Only one can stand at the door of the tomb and can call for the remnants of death to be removed from us and that is Jesus.

These days look to the one who is ‘the resurrection and the life.’  Listen to Jesus’ call to remove death’s covering.  Care for your neighbor and do what brings them life.  Remember that the Word which gave us life is the same Jesus who died on the cross and rose from the dead.  He is still present calling for us to come out of the ways of death and be set free.

Peace.

The Word that Communicates John 1:1-18

We communicate through all sorts of ways.  A smile, scowl, hand gesture, ‘the look’, emoji, act of kindness are all ways that we can communicate to others.  These help convey emotions like anger, joy or frustration but are limited.  We use medium like Twitter, smartphone, Facebook, email, YouTube, texting, etc. to help us in passing on news and ideas to others.  These medium have no power without the use of simple, basic words.  The use of words is how we communicate with each other.  Noun, verb, adverb, tense, etc. are how we fully express ourselves and relate to others.

The opening verses to the Gospel of John tell us about someone called the Word.  We are told that from the very beginning the Word was with God and was God.  Furthermore, all of creation came into being through this Word.  If we want to know about God, then the Word is the noun, verb, adverb, tense, etc. expressing God’s nature to us and relationship with us.  So who or what is this Word?

Well, even though we owe our very existence to the Word, we have rejected it.  The law which Moses passed down we love to call and use as God’s Word to control and berate others.  However, the Word is grace upon grace and truth.  To the darkness of the world with its revenge, assassinations, violence and slavery, the Word is a light that shines of life and the darkness won’t extinguish it.  Social media may be used to attack, degrade our humanity, demand perfection that is unattainable but belief (a gift from the Holy Spirit) in the name of the Word gives us the capacity to be declared children of God.  Once again, who or what is this Word?

Well, words are used to communicate.  The Word is God in the flesh come to be with us.  The Word is God showing to us what humanity was created to be.  The Word has come to be a light that exposes our darkness.  The Word is what took our rejection and murderous cross so that we could know the grace upon grace that raises life out of death.

John the Baptist stood alongside the Jordan River and pointed out Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.  Jesus is this Word that is the full expression of God to us.  So if you want to know the truth of God’s nature, look to the words of the Gospel of John as they continue to point to Jesus.

Peace.