Sunday, March 22, 2020
John 11: 22-27
22But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.” 23Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, 26and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.”
As a pastor, Sunday mornings have always been my favorite day of the week. I love the life of the congregation, being with other Christians who love Jesus, and having the opportunity to proclaim Christ in profound ways. Sunday is the day, as a church, we all connect – check-in with our friends and give-receive that hug from one another that – for many of us – gets us through the week. For me, Sundays has always brought so much joy to my life.
However, because of the CoronaVirus that has made its presence into our world, this is one Sunday that I believe – we will always remember. This is one Sunday that as Christians, we will wake up knowing that our world has changed. This is one Sunday when we will miss the hugs, we receive from each other, the meals and the love that we share, and the hope of a better world that currently feels lost. This is one Sunday that feels eerie, sad, and disheartened.
In John 11:22-27, Lazarus has died. Lazarus was the brother of Martha and Mary, in whom are really good friends with Jesus. The two sisters had summoned Jesus to come and heal Lazarus, but when Jesus gets there, Lazarus has already died and been in the tomb for four days. Martha and Mary are upset that Jesus did not make it in time and they let him know, – “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (vv.21, 32). Notice that through this statement; however, that when each confronted Jesus, they had the faith to recognize that Jesus did have the ability to heal Lazarus. And, it is here that Jesus begins to push them further into their belief.
In fact, in John 11:22-27, our Gospel writer takes us to the heart of the Good News in Jesus Christ…
Jesus says, “Your brother will rise again…I am the Resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” (vv. 23-26).
As I do feel sad that this Sunday morning and that it will not be the Sundays that I love and look forward to each week; however, it is a great reminder that our life is not of this world, but in Jesus Christ! It is a grave reminder that we are still in the season of Lent, that ‘we are dust and to dust we shall return.’ This Sunday morning is a wonderful opportunity to turn towards God – to give our lives to God through our love for one another and caring for those who have lost hope in this world through the words of Jesus Himself, I am the Resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.”
This Sunday morning is a reminder that this is not the world that God reigns, but the world that awaits us is far more wonderful than anything we could ever possibly imagine!
This Sunday morning, I do feel eerie, sad, and disheartened. I will miss seeing my fellow Christian friends. I will miss the hugs, the meals we share, and mutual love we have for one another. And, yes – the CoronaVirus is real, aggressive, and life-threatening. However, our Lord and Savior is real, pure LOVE, and gives us the Holy Spirit – the strength, power, and abilities to withstand the evil forces of this world.
Through Jesus Christ, we have LIFE! We have EVERLASTING LIFE!
Today, this Sunday, we stand tall, strong and courageous and proclaim Christ in mighty and profound ways through our love for one another. No one or nothing can separate us from the LOVE of Jesus Christ and the life that He gives us!
Let us pray…Gracious God, you know that if we had our will, we would want to be in our church with one another – to hear your Word, to partake in the Holy Sacraments, and to share our lives with each other and our neighbors. Be with us now – help us to remember your love for us and that your light shines in the darkness of the world, our hearts, and in desperate times. Help us to remember that nothing or no one can separate us from you! Amen.