Scripture Reading: John 11:1-45
When she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, and told her privately, ‘The Teacher is here and is calling for you.’ And when she heard it, she got up quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. The Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary get up quickly and go out. They followed her because they thought that she was going to the tomb to weep there. When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’ When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. He said, ‘Where have you laid him?’ They said to him, ‘Lord, come and see.’ Jesus began to weep. So the Jews said, ‘See how he loved him!’ But some of them said, ‘Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?’ –John 11:28-37
I loved The Waltons TV show. One Christmas show is still seared in my mind. The wife of the local mercantile owner organized a charity to help the poor little children in the village. She gathered donations of toys and announced the date and time when the families could come and get their gifts. If you remember the show, you know that she thought she was a cut above her neighbors. A rather ridged woman, she required each child to recite a Bible verse before they could get a toy. The older children did well but the younger they got the less likely they were to know a verse. John Boy, the lead character, standing in the background started whispering short verses that the young ones could remember just long enough to get their toy. For the youngest and the last, he saved the shortest verse taken from our scripture above, Jesus wept (King James Version). It was most appropriate for after proving their worthiness by reciting a verse, the children opened gifts of broken and worn out toys.
Jesus’ final days were filled with the irony of one whose only desire in life was to love and enable others to love caught in a world where everyone must prove their worth based on human judgment. I do not know why Jesus wept at Lazarus tomb. Perhaps it was because Mary and Martha were in such grief, perhaps he deeply regretted the pain and suffering that Lazarus had experienced in his final days. Both are probably true but I also think he wept for all those who were missing out on the fullness of God’s love by chasing after lesser gods of pride or greed or whatever.
Lent is our time to examine ourselves and see if we have any of those lesser gods distracting us from the love that passes all understanding.
Prayer: God of Mercy and of Grace, help us to see ourselves more clearly. Free us from the chains of idolatry, great or small. Fill our lives with your love so that we can be conduits of love to all your children. Amen.