5th Lent: Raising the Dead


            “Lazarus, come out!”  Come out, Lazarus.  Come out of the tomb.  Come out of the darkness.  Come out of the stench.  Come out of death.  “Lazarus, come out!”


            Somewhere along the line, I must have had a name change, that I didn’t realize.  You too.  I think my name really was Lazarus.  Maybe if you think about it, Lazarus was also your name.  I figure that my name was Lazarus because I didn’t just live among the dead, I was dead.  And where I was stunk.  It was foul and dark.  For I, like perhaps you, lived in a world of sin, joining in every now and then.  Sometimes the sin was in the accumulating and hoarding of stuff.  Sometimes the sin was in the refusal to control what I say or do.  Sometimes the sin was in selfish indulgence.  Many times the sin was in ignoring the needs of others, as the rich man did to another man named Lazarus. The particular sins might be different for everyone, but all of us, including the finest people I have ever met, all of us have not just lived among the dead, we chose to be dead ourselves.


            “Lazarus come out!”


            And so Jesus calls us, me and you.  “Lazarus come out!”  Someone else has done the heavy lifting.  Someone else rolled  away the stone for us.  Jesus did this with the sacrificial love of the cross.  But we still have to come out ourselves.  We have to leave the familiar comfort of our tomb.  Stinky and foul as it is, we have to leave the familiar comfort of our self centered lives, and we have to walk to the voice, walk to Jesus, walk to the one who is calling us. 


            And we have walked to Him.  And life is so much more beautiful now! The air is fresh.  We forgot how great that was to live in fresh air.  The birds are singing.  Our ears are no longer ringing with the clamor, the noise of selfishness.  Life smells good.  Life is beautiful now as we walk to the One who is calling us, as we walk to Jesus.


            And Jesus says, “I called you from the tomb so others can live also.  I need you to be my voice.  I need you to call out.”


            We look around us.  The gossip.  It is as though the only joy that some people have in their lives is tearing down others.  The using.  So many people only have one thought when it comes to another person: “What’s in it for me?” The hollow joy of momentary pleasures.  The party-now worry-later attitude that results in self-destruction.  The selfishness that locks us into a downward spiral.


            And we recognized the frustration of so many around us, the frustration that had been under the thin surface of our own lives, and we call out to others: “Lazarus, come out!”


            So many who are all wrapped up in their little worlds see you, see me, and say, “I want to be happy like him, like her.”  Our very happiness, our living the life of Jesus Christ calls out to others, “Lazarus, come out of that tomb!”  By seeking union with the One to whom we walk when we leave our tombs, we are calling others to join us, “Lazarus, come out!”  By living a Christian lifestyle, even though that means being different that those who brag about their immorality, even though that means being holy, for being different is being holy, our very lives call out to all, “Lazarus, come out!”


            Why should I live in a dark, foul tomb?  Why should you? Why should anyone live among the dead?


            Listen, listen to the voice. 


            Walk to the voice. 


            Help others to listen.  Let them listen to His voice in us. 


            And so we shout to the world with our lives: “Walk with us and with Lazarus.  Walk with us, to the One who is the Lord of Life!”