Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
Irish Domincan Donagh O’Shea writes: Jesus faced death to give life to Lazarus. This is John showing us the meaning of Jesus' life, or applying the first brush-stroke in this scene.

An alternative (or more accurately, a disjunction) is not a paradox. Life or death is not yet paradox; the paradox is life in death. Johann Tauler (1300–1361) wrote: “If only we could seek joy in sadness, peace in trouble, simplici¬ty in multiplicity, comfort in bitterness! This is the way to become true witnesses to God.”

All I can think is, “Amen.” Maybe, “Whew,” might come closer. I suspect if I really spent some time thinking about it I could find joy or peace or simplicity or comfort in their opposites, but it would sure take a lot of work. It certainly wouldn’t be easy, and maybe that’s why we don’t even think about the possibility of doing it, much less trying.

And yet, the story we hear about Lazarus today is exactly that: seeking something in its opposite, namely seeking life in death. Big deal or no? We might be very tempted to blow it off by saying, “Well, Jesus can do anything he wants.” Then we look a little closer at the details of the story. The one that always leaps out at me is, “Jesus wept.”

Why? Why did Jesus cry?

I think he wept because he felt very bad about what he was going to do to Lazarus, namely bring Lazarus back from the dead. The raising of Lazarus was surely the lightning rod that cemented the decision of the religious leaders to rid themselves of Jesus. They feared that the people would proclaim Jesus Messiah and cause a disruption in the civil order. Then the Romans would come and crush that uprising. (The irony is that the Romans did come and destroy the temple, anyway.)

So, what’s my point in these ruminations? If you take the three John stories that we’ve heard today, last week, and the week before, you have a sinful woman who changes because she meets Jesus, a man who gains not only physical sight, but spiritual sight, and today a man whose role it is to show the power of God over life and death itself.

The paradox de jour is that Jesus deliberately endangers his own life, and through his death he gives life.

My next rumination is how well am I appreciating the gift of life that was given not simply for Lazarus, but for me. Can I see life in death? And then, am I willing to die to so many of the things in my life that can indeed be “deadly?” It seems that only in dying to them will I share in the life Jesus offers me (us) as he steps out of the tomb. There’s another “Whew” in here somewhere.

AND... it’s a little hard to switch subjects right now, but I need to because in the rush of the com¬ing holy days and week, I’m afraid that I will forget to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to all the people who made the Fish Fry and the Auc¬tion work so well. Elli Hurst, Brian McMahon, Luke Facarazzo, Keith and Colleen Benhayon, Judy Fisher, Kate Heffner, Mary Wood, Liz Siegle, Ann Murry, Fred Schmid, Dottie Nolen, Cynthia Alonzi’s wrappers, and of course Annie Gardner, and the inevitable anonymous hands that will appear to help set up and clean up: all of them bless us beyond measure.
I’m theirs and yours, In Jesus,
sign frjim

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