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
Yesterday we traveled to Boston with our dog and cat. Petey and Darla will be living with our youngest while we are in Alaska for 18 months. As we get close to moving day, I am aware how challenging it is to change, move and take up a different place. The animals were agitated at first. They adjusted. We will adjust. There is a tiny bit of fear that comes with every new change which suggests we might die this time through. And yet, where ever we go we are never alone.
Jesus and the disciples learn of the death of Lazarus. He was like family to Jesus. The journey was necessary but the journey would be treacherous. The politics were violent and they feared for their lives. And yet, they could make no other choice but to go with Jesus, to face whatever was before them. Their love and loyalty was so secured that they were ready to face their fears. They were going with Jesus. And when we make that choice, we find that Jesus goes with us too, that we are not alone in the way ahead, and there are still greater miracles in store.
Today as we travel and prepare, may we remember that as we choose to follow God, God chooses to go with us and lead us. May we choose love and constancy today, in the face of great change and loss, knowing that we are held closely to the heart of God.