Saturday, February 18, 2012

Eye of the Storm

Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” After saying these things, he said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.” The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” John 11:1-16

My Mom and I went out to dinner last night. It is very quiet in February and it can be hard to find something open. My mother told me stories of when they first moved to Cape May, in the early 1950's, as my Dad was called up for active duty and was serving as chaplain at the Coast Guard Base. She told me of their early experiences of storms here and how that was quite an overwhelming experience for her. We are surrounded with water and sometimes we can get cut off from the main land. She still looks at the water in low lying areas with an eye for rising waters. Living where we do, one expects a certain amount of storms and know what it is like to head into the fray of wind and water.

Jesus was sent for by Mary as her brother was dying. The politic climate around Jesus was charged and heading to see Lazarus would mean Jesus would be heading directly into a nasty storm. People were openly planning to kill him. He took his time but knew he wanted to be with his dear friends and, motivated by love, he and the disciples go down, away from safety and privacy into the fray. He went for love and in order to demonstrate the power of God's love, strong enough to bring Lazarus back from the dead, a love that is willing to dive into the worst circumstances in order to bring healing and life.

Today I ask God to help me turn and face all the storms of my life, trusting that I will not be alone, but that God is with me, going ahead of me and leading with healing and love. May I worry about nothing more than setting the table, and being prepared for the feast of joy that God brings. May the storms of life not rattle our faith, rather help us to see God's power and love in new ways this day, sharing everything we receive with those who are suffering and who need our help today.

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