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Session 6: "Taking Death Seriously" led by David Johnson

 

Sunday February 11, 2024

 

 

In this story we hear the anger and frustration of these 2 sisters in the loss of their brother. We even experience the sorrow and sadness of Jesus in the loss of his friend: "Jesus wept." This is the shortest verse in the Bible, but it shows how Jesus dealt with his loss.

 

After Jesus told Martha that her brother would rise again, she thought he was talking about the end of time. John then quotes Jesus in beautiful prose:

 

"I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die." John 11:25-26

 

I love this musical version by John Rutter in his Requiem:

 

There are more than 2000 musical versions of the Requiem Mass, and I find many of them very comforting. Here is another famous one: the "Pie Jesu" by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

        Andrew Lloyd Webber:
    "Pie Jesu" (from Requiem)

 

But Amy-Jill also wonders what it was like for Lazurus to come back from the dead.

 

Each of us has suffered loss and death. And yet here we are, having come back from that loss or death. As Amy-Jill, who has come back twice from near death, says, "What do we do now?"

 

Some of you may be mourning your team's loss in the NFL playoffs. I submit to you that your more important team is all around you at this very moment.

 

Whether you are greeting, bringing snacks, leading our class or just listening and watching, you are bringing in God's Kingdom in a miraculous way. It is these little things we do in Christ's name that are little miracles.

 

While we can't raise someone from the dead, we can reach out to someone who is hurting or needy. As Henri Nouwen says, we are all "Wounded Healers", and we do what we can.

 

God has given each one of us many talents. My talents are not the same as your talents, but we are all "members of one body, one Lord of all".

 

God needs all of us to use those God-given talents to help others and bring about the Kingdom of God in this moment, even though we are dealing with pain and loss that is crushing us.

 

Here we are, like Lazarus, stumbling out of our tomb in rags, having been raised from the dead by Jesus. We are sent by Jesus to be his hands today. Amen.