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Today’s text reads a bit like a pep talk; as if it’s given to a people who are feeling weary and worn down. It reads as if its words aren’t written to an infant, but to an adult who needs to be reminded of where they came from. And the truth is that we all need reminding from time to time of how we’ve been nurtured by our Mother God, who feeds us with truth, grace, justice, and steadfast love.
So, my question for us this day is this: how can we resist the urge to “go back to the way things were” and instead position ourselves to become something new, renewing our focus on the basics of what it means to be a Christian community.
Friends, the Resurrected Christ is made known to us in the breaking of bread. That simplest of acts. And Mama C taught me and so many other students that. You see, at the end of the day, the Gospel is not proclaimed so much by eloquent sermons, or fancy church buildings, or huge choirs, or whatever else. At the end of the day, the Gospel is proclaimed simply by breaking bread with one another.
And I hope that once this is over, whenever that will be, we might have a new appreciation and curiosity for the ways that appropriate and healthy touch can make the love of God known to us and to our community.
The resurrection doesn’t need us to do anything. But we most certainly need the resurrection. And the resurrection is the most relentless force in creation. And that, my friends, is joyful news. And while that may not do away with our fear, it certainly gives us something beautifully potent to hold in tension with it.
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!