The readings today were very Easter-y all focused on the Resurrection and stuff. The first reading from Ezekiel had me at: "I will open your graves and make you rise from them." Oh, I see. Easter is almost here. Thanks for the reminder! I will make these last 2 weeks COUNT.
Above: Girls making margaritas at our mountain hideaway and Veritas Vineyard. Fun fact: Veritas means 'truth'. I believe this is a fitting name for a winery. Why? Because I love wine. Truth. See what I did there?
Weekends like this weekend bring me back to life in many respects. One- the massage I had at the spa was AH-mazing! Fact: I want my feet rubbed with hot stones ALL of the time. Two- being with friends away from the hustle and bustle makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. The alcohol also helps.
So it is fitting that the readings are switching gears towards the Resurrection as we begin to transition to spring FINALLY and the new life that comes with Easter (and Spring Break!)
The Gospel reading today was one of my ultimate faves: the raising of Lazarus. I write and speak about this Gospel passage ALL of the time I'm pretty sure. I had heard it preached on back in college and it kind of changed my life. Or at least the way I looked at myself.
The shortest verse (I believe) in the Bible (0r at least the New Testament) can be found in this story of the raising of Lazarus: "And Jesus wept" (John 11:35). This was also the verse that I held near and dear to my heart for so long because of what the priest had said about it in college. Jesus wept for his dear friend Lazarus showing how much he truly loved him. The priest pointed out that Jesus would do the same for each one of us and for some reason that moved me. Knowing that Jesus loved me and would be so moved if something happened to me as he was for someone he walked and talked and spent time with like Lazarus made me grow in the self-love that I was lacking at the time.
This Gospel has come to mean more to me, however, in recent years. I've paid more attention to Mary and Martha and their reaction to Christ in this story. Christ and Martha have a very interesting and important exchange in which He tells her He IS the "resurrection and the life." He himself hasn't been resurrected yet, though, so Martha can't possibly yet know what this means, but she believes. I've also been taken in the past by Lazarus himself- the stench and all- that he truly had a second shot at life and how amazing this must've been for him and his family.
Today I was struck, though, by what Thomas says. Jesus says he wants to go back to Bethany- where he is wanted and has had his life threatened- because Lazarus is ill. The disciples think he is crazy to go back to a dangerous place where they just came from. Thomas, however, says something to the effect of: "let us go to die with him." Wanting to put his life on the line with Christ and for Christ. However, we know Thomas is the one who doubts the Resurrection.
So Thomas is willing to die with Christ, but not rise? Why is the resurrection the part, for all of us it seems, that is more difficult to believe? We know death is real. Suffering is real. We have experienced it. The joy that comes after, though, is sometimes hard to see or believe when we are in the midst of the suffering (as Thomas was, since he had just seen Jesus suffer and die when he had heard of the news of the Resurrection).
Well, even though I perhaps haven't taken advantage of the redemptive suffering and discipline of Lent as I should've this year, I am ready to focus on the rising :) Seeing certainly is believing- but may we have the faith that Thomas lacked even without seeing just yet.
And may we allow ourselves to rise which also seems to be difficult. We try to keep ourselves and others down. When Jesus tells Lazarus to "come out" of the cave, the dead man walks and lives! If Christ can make the dead man walk again, certainly, he can help us out of whatever is keeping us from truly living.
ONE WEEK 'TIL HOLY WEEK! OMG! Make it count! And live! ;)