28 Mar 2020 • Weekly Notices
Hazelwell Contact and News (for Sunday 29th March
Please read on for updates, news and prayer requests.
Prayers are requested for:-
All those who are caring for others in their community
Everyone in front -line services treating those suffering from covid19.
Residents of Millbrook Road and Reeves Road
Pause for Thought from Reverend Moira Forbes
This week has been a struggle for many of us. And when I saw that I had this passage about Lazarus to preach on, I wasn’t sure whether I should preach on it this week, and I even wrote a sermon on another passage.
You see, that seemed an easier message to deliver, than talking about Lazarus’ resurrection by Jesus, in this week when so many have died.
Normally, I’d have talked about the deep grief that Mary and Martha felt at the illness and death of their brother. The desperation they must have felt when they sent a message to Jesus, asking him to come, hoping he’d heal Lazarus. The hurt, confusion and anger, that Jesus didn’t come rushing back, but stayed where he was another couple of days. The grief that causes both of them to ask Jesus why he didn’t come straight away.
Normally I’d talk about how, maybe Jesus needed to finish up what he was doing where he was, because once Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead, it set events in motion for Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter. That maybe the people in that town needed to hear Jesus, before he trod that road to Bethany, which would lead on to Jerusalem and to the cross.
Because when Jesus brought Lazarus back from the dead, some of those there told the those who didn’t like Jesus, and knowing that Jesus could even raise people from the dead, and fearing their loss of power, they started to plot against Jesus’ life.
Normally I’d talk about how this all pointed towards why Jesus came to be one of us. That Jesus has power even over life and death. That this would help people realise, when he rose from the dead, that he truly was resurrected. That Jesus was willing, choosing to die for each of us, and he did it so that we can be set free from sin and death, so that when we die, we may have eternal life. And that gives us hope, that this life is not all that there is, or will be.
But of course, to Mary and Martha, in that moment, it looked like Jesus didn’t care. Had they been wrong about this Jesus?
And then, in the crowd of mourners who’d followed Mary, Jesus is overcome with grief. Jesus wept.
Jesus wept. It’s the shortest verse in the Bible. And yet it means so much. Jesus isn’t some unfeeling superhero just come to save the day and take all the applause. Jesus, as well as being fully God, is fully human. And Jesus wept.
Yes, in a moment, Lazarus will be raised from the dead. But in that moment, Lazarus is dead, and grief overwhelms Jesus.
As we are going through these hard times, as some of us are weeping, as some of us are asking, “Where were you, Lord?” Or “Where areyou God?”. Jesus weeps with us. We don’t have a distant God who doesn’t care. We have a present God who loves us, cares for us, weeps with us, and is even willing to suffer and die for us.
So, with all we’re going through, I can’t just talk about the hope of the future, or eternal life, although they do give me hope. Instead, today, I want you to remember that God is not just the God of the future, but the God of right now. God is not just a distant unfeeling God, but the God who became one of us, knows us and weeps with us. Jesus, God with us, through whatever is ahead.