Death to Life

Raising LazarusThere are so many miracles in the lectionary readings for today. Christ himself, the messiah, a miracle in the form of a man. God’s love for us, immense and mind boggling, a miracle in the face of all of our flaws. Lazarus’s resurrection, a glimpse of Jesus’ true power over death.

In Isaiah 42, God predicts the coming of Christ and proclaims His loving approval. He describes His servant, who’ll walk in his spirit, as compassionate and merciful. “A bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench.” When we are trampled by circumstances, when our spirits feel like a dull flicker, Christ is our hope, our healer, the bringer of light. He perseveres in face of injustice, always a voice for the marginalized, affirming the value of the castoffs of society. Psalm 36:7 assures that no matter what our struggles, we may all take refuge in the shadow of God’s wing, because He so loves us. His love for us is humbling and incredible. We who are doubtful, cruel, selfish, and broken are so loved by our Creator that He sent Christ to embody his love, and to die that we might be restored.

Christ— who was blameless. Christ— who performed miracles, both of everyday kindness and compassion, and of incredible power over both the natural and supernatural world. Christ—who even displayed power over death itself.

Resurrection is the miracle Jesus worked in Lazarus, of course, but let us not forget:

Resurrection is also the miracle Christ is working in each of us. No one but Christ—perfect, compassionate, persistent in the face of injustice, steadfast in the redemption of the broken, the marginalized, the suffering, can bring hope and meaning into the ruins of our desperate and ragged hearts. Through our daily failures, Christ persists in perfect, transformative compassion and grace, and renews and redeems us. In our suffering, he comforts us.  He changed the course of Lazarus’s life and people came from miles around to witness the transformation for themselves.

Death to life.

Rot, stench, and utter stillness had become a walking, breathing, living, person through Christ.

This is a powerful story because of how it still resonates in our own circumstances today. Because of how desperately, and if I’m honest, how frequently I need Christ to restore me from the grave of my own failures and shortcomings, even now. Lazarus’s life pointed so strongly to the love and power of Christ that people marveled and Christ’s enemies plotted his death along with Jesus’. May we all be so well known for the resurrection Christ is working within us. Amen.

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Cindy Sullivan is an educational assistant in Murfreesboro, TN. She is an artist and a nerd and a follower of Christ, doing her best to love and serve while taking the scenic route through life. She attends First Baptist Church Murfreesboro. 

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