Rector's Ramblings for March 29th

Rector’s ramblings on March 29th 2020

   Disappointment.  For me, and I suspect for others, disappointment is one of the hardest feelings to endure. Disappointment that things haven’t worked out as we’d hoped. Disappointment when we feel let down by others. Disappointment when we haven’t lived up to our own expectations of ourselves. Disappointment in God: ‘Why doesn’t he....? Why hasn’t he....?.  

   Disappointment is at the forefront of today’s gospel story of the raising of Lazarus. The disciples were disappointed in Jesus: why didn’t he go straightway to Lazarus when news came he was ill? They had seen Jesus heal many so why did he delay now? Then wait until Lazarus was dead, until it was truly dangerous to go nearer to Jerusalem where the authorities were out to get Jesus.

  Martha and Mary were disappointed in Jesus: ‘my brother would not have died if you were here’ they both cry. Their home had been a bolt hole for Jesus over the years and now he had disappointed them. Both acknowledge that Lazarus is with God but the pain of their disappointment is obvious. Jesus own pain is recorded in those words ‘He wept’

  All expected Jesus to have healed Lazarus while he was still alive. He hadn’t. Some of the onlookers say ‘Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?’

    Yet Jesus was to show them something more surprising than they could have imagined. He brought life out of death.

   What might this story say to us today? We are all experiencing lots of deaths right now. It may be the pain of actual bereavement or the little deaths we feel: loss of freedom, loss of company, loss of security. The list is almost endless. What have we had to place in the tomb? It’s hard for us who expect action and expect it now to ease our pain. Perhaps we need to be patient and learn to trust that Jesus will bring something more surprising than we can imagine out of all of this, that he will bring life out of death. It’s too soon yet to know what that will look like.

  At the end of the day, the One who was prepared to die for me, for you, on that cross can be trusted even where I do not understand. “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess for he who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:23). Let us turn our eyes outwards to see where we can bring that hope to others.

    Faithful God
who chose in Christ
to share our sorrows
and experience pain,
help us to be a people of faith, not fear,
of compassion, not carelessness,
in these testing times. Amen

(A prayer from the bible reading fellowship)