Sermon – 03-29-20 – Lent 5 – Cycle A
Scriptures: Ezekiel 37:1-14; Psalm 130; Romans 8:6-11; John 11:1-45
Sermon Title: “Are We In A Holding Tomb?”
Jesus purposely does not go to Lazarus in time to save him from dying. Jesus knows the Father is allowing the death of Lazarus in order to prove that he, Jesus, is the Messiah, the true Son of God. The display of power and authority at the rising of Lazarus is quite spectacular.
Is it possible that we are in this tomb of Coronavirus, or COVOD-19 if you will, for a bigger plan. Or is it really just a huge, ugly nuisance from which no good will come – only hardship?
Just as Mary and Martha are agonizing over their friend, Jesus’, lack of compassion and urgency, are we the Marys and the Marthas in this situation in 2020. We find some kind of sick relief by pointing fingers of blame toward the lack of compassion and urgency in our leaders. Did evil start this scourge of sickness and death? If you had been awake, Lord, when this began, could you not have stopped it?
Does the raising of Lazarus, spectacular as that is, save Jesus from dying? No! It proves that he is the Son of God and that he has to be stopped before he takes over the established religion of the time and place.
Well, here we are facing uncharted territory. Can’t you just picture the houses in our neighborhoods blowing up one at a time as the personalities within blow their gaskets! How are Amercan familes going to retreat to days gone by when people played table games and listened to the radio and one person cooked and everyone ate whatever that was. Luckily, we now have electronic games for individuals.. You know we might get by if it were not for food and . . . the stoppage of income! Starting all over from 1929!
It does seem that way, does it not? The picture seems as gloomy as the field of bones in the Old Testament book of Ezekiel. These bones are not skeletons. These are separated bones – dry bones, long lying in that valley. Who knows how they got there. God gives Ezekiel the power and the authority to tell these bones to come together like a giant jigsaw puzzle. They rattle as they move to join the right each others. Gradually, these bones become skeletons – good-fit skeletons, and they grow sinews (tendons) and flesh and skin and finally feel the breath arrive within. They are alive again and stand on their feet. They are renewed by the Spirit of God.
As we feel strung out to dry, disconnected from life, think of the dry bones. There is life after death. But what about Jesus on the cross and his short trip to hell. Not so good was that weekend! But, the third day was a whopper! Picture the resurrection from this plague called COVID-19; from the hell of it all! Undoubtedly, some of us will have experienced the true, forever resurrection so let us all be ready in case we are called. Let us get our houses in order – that direction is specifically for me. Let us prepare our souls. May we clear the cobwebs in our minds and hearts, let us be clear for the meeting with Jesus. For those of us who will find ourselves resurrected on earth, it will be time for renewal of the Spirit. It will be time to hear the Alleluias bouncing from the clouds, the trees, the roads. Picture it! Oh, that we are using this time of suffering and fear to rest our souls and let Jesus prepare us to hear the Lord saying, “O my people, I will put my spirit within you and you shall live.”