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S (Scripture): John 11:38 Jesus was deeply disturbed again when he came to the tomb [of Lazarus]. It was a cave, and a stone covered the entrance. 39 Jesus said, “Remove the stone.”
Martha, the sister of the dead man, said, “Lord, the smell will be awful! He’s been dead four days.”
40 Jesus replied, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believe, you will see God’s glory?” 41 So they removed the stone. Jesus looked up and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me. 42 I know you always hear me. I say this for the benefit of the crowd standing here so that they will believe that you sent me.” 43 Having said this, Jesus shouted with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his feet bound and his hands tied, and his face covered with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Untie him and let him go.”
O (Observation): Jesus was greatly disturbed. This can be interpreted in two ways: 1. He was saddened and upset over the death of Lazarus; 2. He was disturbed at the lack of faith from Lazarus’ loved ones.
Most can relate to the death of a loved one. Jesus certainly loved Lazarus and Mary and Martha. So there is that.
However, these folks who are so distraught have perhaps not learned of God’s pervasive presence, even in death. And not only this, but the fact the Jesus himself is with them and has been a witness to God’s eternal gift of presence and love may be disturbing Jesus.
Either way, Jesus is disturbed and stands to correct the lack of faith of those around him by resuscitating Lazarus. And in the end, Lazarus is unbound and set free.
A (Application): In what way does your faith and life need to be set free? Are you someone in whom the system of things around you is holding you back? Are you someone who is doing the binding?
Remember that we are called to live for one another and to know that God’s presence is with us. Especially on this day before the 2020 presidential election.
I’m not gonna say, “regardless of the outcome, we all just need to get along.” We do, for sure. We need to keep the peace…but when do face the racist systems around us? And at what point is the cost too great for black and indigenous peoples?
I am sensitive to people of color and indigenous people and immigrants who are trying to make a better way for themselves in America (or are fleeing violence).
I have heard their cry. Have you? Have you stood by and heard their stories? Are you simply telling them they are not welcome? Are you (white folks like me) taking for granted hundreds of years of legislation and prejudice in favor of people considered “white”?
I pray for a leader of this nation who will bind us together. Who will lead us in a common path for good.
May we seek God’s guidance today, tomorrow, and for always, for the betterment of our society…that we may face the wrongs done to people of color, indigenous peoples, and all who wish to make a better way for themselves in this country.
P (Prayer): Gracious God, give us courage to do the right things. Always. Unbind us and set us free – not for selfish gain, but for the sake of the other. Amen.