This week our daily readings of the book of John has included a great story about the death of Lazarus, chapter 11:1-44. This story is rich in detail, which is not always true in Biblical stories. The main theme of this story is simple—Jesus has the power to raise Lazarus from the dead. Yet that occurs in the last seven verses of the story. The first thirty-eight verses tell of the drama around the death of Lazarus and the grieving of his sisters and friends. Both Martha and Mary express their frustration to Jesus that had he arrived sooner, their brother would still be alive.
Two weeks ago, I started GriefShare offered through St. Andrew’s. This is a class designed to help people who are grieving the loss of a loved one. It can be a recent loss or a loss that occurred long ago, but the person is still struggling to heal. I signed up because I lost my mom this past summer and I feel like I never really grieved her the way I wanted. I had too many things going on with a move, a new church, and both of my daughters heading off to college. Today in class I admitted to my classmates that I have struggled with my relationship with God since my mom passed. I do not think I am mad at God, but I also do not feel his presence like I have in the past. I get what Mary and Martha were feeling. They were sad their brother was gone, but they were also wondering why God allowed him to die. Within the story of Lazarus is the shortest verse in the Bible. Most kids raised in church can tell you what it is. “Jesus wept.” Verse 35 reveals the human side of Jesus who grieves with his friends. While we never get the answer to why people die when they die, we do know from this narrative that Jesus grieves with us. That helps. It also helps to know that Jesus understands when we do not feel close to him. He doesn’t get mad at us or reject us because we grieve. Instead, he lovingly stays close to us until we are ready to open our hearts again and receive His love.
Pastor Jayne Rideout
For more info about GriefShare at St. Andrew's, click HERE.