From Pastor Pat: The voice that calls us forth
(Posted March 31,2017)
At first glance, this Sunday’s scripture readings look more appropriate for some time nearer to Halloween – we start out with the prophet Ezekiel, who was given to some pretty wild visions and dreams, being spoken to by God in the presence of a valley of skeletons. If that were not enough, the Gospel transports us to the tomb of Lazarus, already three days in the tomb, where Jesus seems to arrive too late to help. We might seriously be asking, with the first hints of Spring outside the door, Why are we dwelling on this now?
Our 2017 Lenten calendar
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Sunday service begins at 10 a.m.
The truth is, with this Gospel and the long Lenten procession to Easter, Jesus and we his followers are only two miles outside of Jerusalem. Jerusalem, where Jesus who lovingly saves us from eternal death, will face his own death on a hilltop while spat upon and mocked. Both Ezekiel and John’s gospel have at their core the same human preoccupation:
The great fear, and the great leveler for humanity is death.
People, whether powerful or poor, all face the same end.
Over the last few weeks, Jesus has taught us those virtues of the heart that bring us closer to God. Compassion. Forgiveness. Creativity. And now, facing the grave, Jesus teaches us Humility. In the death of Lazarus and in his rising up we have the dress rehearsal for Easter Morning.
As we confront our fragility outside the tomb of Lazarus, it’s possible that we will identify with the man, bound with strips of cloth, laid out in the dark, in a limbo fog of death but hearing the voice of Jesus calling to him. How many of us, after a few decades of living, have given up some of those hopes and dreams we had in our youth? How many of us are bound tightly by “strips of despair” – by the words “I can’t” or “it’s too late for me?” How many of us prefer at this point to slumber on in our decaying lives, rather than to respond to the call of Jesus echoing in our tomb, who has called so many that he has healed by the words “Rise up”?
In both that valley of the dry bones and at the Tomb of Lazarus, it is God and God’s son who breathe life into the old human forms before them. The Ruah -- the breath of life –- is also known as The Spirit that animated humanity at Creation. Join us this Sunday to listen to the voice that calls us forth to greater things in this life, and the next. – Pastor Pat Kriss