One of the readings for this Sunday is Jesus’ raising of Lazarus. There is so much that is powerful in this story, but one of the images I am grateful for is that of Jesus weeping. Think about it – Jesus knows he has the power to raise Lazarus back to life and yet, he still weeps.
Why? Is he weeping for the statement Martha has just made upon his request that they open the tomb – “Lord, he’s been dead four days; there will be a stench.” Is he crying for all those before and yet to come? For the brokenness and sadness and stench of that which brings death and so often before its time into people’s lives?
Is he weeping for us because he knows how hard it is for us to weep for ourselves? And why is that? Over the last month there have been two people who have apologized to me for tearing up about sorrows in their lives. From my point of view, a full-blown wailing would be warranted.
Crying needn’t be an exercise in self-pity, but a way in which we enter the cross of our lives where Christ is waiting to meet us. Isn’t it there in the darkness that we most fully see the light? Isn’t it there where we stop trying to keep it together and let God pick up the pieces and put us back together?
If we need it, Jesus’ weeping gives us permission to do the same trusting the promise that weeping shall be transformed into laughter and sorrow into joy. As the Psalmist sings it: “You have turned my mourning into dancing; you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.”
So, this All Saints’ Sunday when you come to the entrance of the sanctuary and discover candles, light one for a loved one you have lost this year or light one for yourself, you saint you. Feel sad; grieve your losses; and hear the promises of God who wants to clothe you with joy, feed you with love, and remind you that He will raise you up on this and on the last day.
- Pastor Dianne