I suspect many of us are crying “hosanna” this day. We want to be saved. We want to leave the confines of our homes, if we are lucky enough to have a roof over our head. We want be able to hug our friends again. We want to meet our new grandchildren. We want to go to the grocery store without the anxiety and fear. We want to get back to our jobs. We want to see where our next paycheck is coming from. We want to get back to normal.
So friends, resurrection is coming. But not yet. For now, we’re still stuck in the tomb with Lazarus. We’re holed up in our homes and cancelling all public gatherings. And that has disrupted every aspect of our lives. So, amid the grief, know this: that all of the sacrifices we’re making are for a higher purpose - to protect those around us who are most vulnerable. And if that’s not the work of the Gospel, I don’t know what is.
So today, I’m curious. What would today’s passage have looked like if the community around this man had responded with curiosity and celebration instead of fear and anger?
This wilderness can at first look like a place of isolation but, as today’s story teaches us, if we just practice a little intentionality and curiosity, this wilderness can and will be a place of unexpected connection!
Faith is about more than simple answers. In fact, faith is more about the right questions than the right answers.
This is the good news of today’s passage and indeed the good news of the entirety of the season of Lent: Jesus isn’t sitting safely on the sidelines while we’re “out there” getting our butts kicked; Jesus is right here in the arena with us.
You see, tough things are ahead. For awhile now, we’ve talked about things. Now, it’s time to do some walking. It’s time for us to go “Into the Woods,” to enter the wilderness.
If you’re human, you have anger. Even the people we see as being particularly genteel had anger. Mr. Rogers got angry. Mother Teresa got angry. Jesus himself got angry.
Because, friends, you are the light of the world, the salt of the earth. Jesus is talking to us, today, to his Church - a Church that should make its home not in the confines of a beautiful building but in the brokenness of the world outside it.
There are some who think that the Church should be a neutral institution. But that’s just not what the Beatitudes teach us. The Church is not called to be neutral. The Church must take a side because God takes a side.