- Friends that are currently over at another place of worship stopped by our little church to visit yesterday. It was such a wonderful surprise.
- The priest gave a sermon about grace. He said lots and lots of tidbits I hadn't really given much thought to before. He explained the reading beautifully and held my attention throughout the sermon and the announcements.
- He announced that a couple in our church lost their 21 year old son to a tragedy Saturday. He didn't say how, but I don't think how really matters.
So, I did a lot of thinking yesterday about grace and death and life and me and my babies and my husband and my brother that was killed when he was 24 and how my worst nightmare came true for my own parents years ago and how they still get up every day and life goes on and laughter did reenter their world. After the accident. Life did continue.
Life did go on. And yesterday the reading in church that our priest preached on was about that guy Lazarus being raised from the dead. Preacher pointed to all the moments of grace in the story for each of the characters. He pointed to Jesus's compassion and His tears that were really unnecessary given that he already knew He was getting ready to bring Lazarus back to life. Getting ready to raise him from the dead. And that's where our preacher stumbled. He pointed to overwhelming grace all the way through the story, but admitted he was lost after that. See, after Lazarus got raised from the dead, the leaders in the community put Lazarus's name on their execution list. He went on the run, and we don't know the rest. Preacher admitted confusion on why Jesus would raise Lazarus just so he would become a hunted man. But again, he pointed back to all the other evidence of grace. It was quite a good message, honestly. One of my favorites.
So, it made me think. I started wondering and arguing with preacher, though he wasn't nearby. God would not write a story consumed throughout with evidence of grace and then stop right at the end. Where is the grace in the ending? Here's my thought. We are called to trust God. God is a God of good. He gave Lazarus life. So we need to take all that evidence of grace so far and trust God with the rest. We don't know the end of Lazarus's story just as we don't know the end of our story. But through Christ Lazarus lives, and we alike may live through Christ. We walk around with the Spirit inside of us right now. Here. And we know His grace. And so we are called to trust. We are not, however, called to know it all.
Here's another thing. I am terrified of dying. I am getting better at letting go of that fear, but it is still there for me. But for Lazarus; he's already been there. Done that. And through Christ he has received life. Again. So I'm thinking that even though he's a hunted man, Lazarus does not have the same level of fear about losing his life as we assume he had. In fact, I'm guessing that just maybe without the burden of fear, he's seeing things in a whole new light. Through eyes of divine grace. And blessings are probably jumping out at him with this new-found sensitivity. Lazarus is alive in a way so deeply genuine that he is not numb to his daily grind or blind to beauty around him. He sees as only a man without fear and with confidence in his God could. And we are to follow his example. In letting go of fear, we make space for the grace. And trust God with the rest.
And yet, then came those announcements. The couple that lost their son. One of my worst nightmares come reality for them. I cannot even imagine what they must be feeling. I wonder if they see any grace in this tragedy at all. It would probably be awfully hard to spot from their vantage point. So all I can think is to look back. To see the overwhelming evidence of grace in times past. To know that God sheds tears of compassion with those grieving, and that God is good - no matter what the circumstance. And to realize that while we may not know the ending of all this, God would not write our story, their child's story, just to stop here. No. I trust Him. The story does not end here. It just doesn't.