Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”
When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. John 11:17-29
We spent the day yesterday, out and about in Boston, visiting old haunts and new ones. We spent part of the day at the zoo with our daughter, looking over all the wondrous animals and especially the gorilla baby. I got thinking about what it might be like to be a captive wild animal and what they think about us looking at them. An older gorilla came right up to window, sat in front of us, as if being very social and curious. We, who can go down the road and meet people, often stayed confined to our very safe places. And yet those who are captive ache to meet others and explore the world they wish to know so well.
Martha and Mary had just suffered a tremendous loss. Their brother has died and Jesus was not there to help them. Martha rushes out to meet Jesus, but Mary stays at home, locked into her own private grief. We humans either rush around or hide when we are stricken with such loss. And yet Martha, in her willingness to go out and meet them, finds her heart and faith transformed completely. She is so moved by the presence of the living God that she can take in his complete capacity, even in the depths of her grief. We are invited, no matter how we desire to hide away from the world due to hurts and losses, to run out and meet the living God, the one coming into the world, even today.
Today, I ask God to help us all move out into the world. May we rise up every morning with the hope of meeting the living God on the road. My our faith be transformed as we embrace others and see the face of Christ in them. May we not be bound and held captive by our grief and our losses, rather, be set free to seek God on the darkest highways. May we not fear the going out, knowing that God will always meet us on the road.