This Poem Gives Such A Great Perspective On How Powerful and Yet Tender Our Lord Is!

So the people, who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead, continued to testify about Him.” John 12:17

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Lazarus

(John 11:1-53)

I
What is there that can
diminish the sorrow of loss
when one whom we’ve loved dies?
Sorrow, oh sorrow deep!
Our brother, Lazarus is dead!
Emptiness has entered the house.
There is only the sound of wailing.
The rooms are redolent
with frankincense and myrrh.
We pray the Kaddish,
make the preparations for the meal
that will be served to those
who come to help us bury him.
“If only his friend had been here,
He would not have died,”
We say to one another.
If only…If only…
Is our desperate prayer.

II
“Rabbi, If you had been here
my brother would not have died.”
“Martha, he will rise again.”
“Yes, I know this, Rabbi.
At the Resurrection.”
“I am the one who raises the dead.
Do you believe me, Martha?”
“Yes, Master.  Oh, yes, I believe.
I know you and with all my heart
I believe in you.”
Then, Jesus wept.

III
The crowd gathered before the tomb
desperate with terrible grief and loss.
Then they heard Martha and Mary’s friend,
the one they called, Jesus,
ordering some of the men to remove
the heavy stone that had been placed
at the entrance to the sepulcher some days ago.
Confused and wary they rolled it back.
The dark heart of the death-ditch
was then revealed to us all.
Some of us fell back for fear of the stench
we thought would emanate from the grave,
but a fresh breeze wafted out instead.
A breathless silence fell over us.
Then, with a voice full of authority,
Jesus spoke, and everything came alive
around us…

“Lazarus, come out!”
As if one, we sucked in a surprised breath.
There, standing in the cave’s dark maw,
was the grave-wrapped Lazarus
strait, tall, his face still covered in cloth.
“Remove his bindings. Set him free.”
A young man stepped forward awkwardly
and nervously took the wrappings away
then stumbled back and we all could see…
The look in Lazarus’ eyes
wide with wonder,
struck all of us dumb.
There he was!
Life breathing in him,
The spirit-spark in his eyes.
We rushed to him,
our faces streaming tears.

In the days that followed
we talked excitedly about this miracle
that we had all been witness to.
And, still, many could not believe
in their weary and frightened hearts
that this son of an old carpenter from Nazareth,
this wandering rabbi, Jesus,
might be the one we have been waiting for
since the time of Moses and the prophets.
But some of us knew that this Jesus,
who had come so gently,
yet so powerfully among us,
was, indeed, the Messiah of God
and we began to tell everyone we met
what we had seen him do for Lazarus, our friend.

Lazarus lived on for many years
and never tired of telling the story.
in hushed and awe-filled tones.
And we never tired of listening.
Lazarus was a man of gentle knowledge,
of abiding faith, and of quiet strength.
He told us over and over again
that we were loved by one
who knows our hearts, and who
despises not our petitions,
and that we would never be alone.
We began going to the synagogue differently.
We listened to the words the Rabbi read
from the ancient prophets more closely
and we were moved in our hearts and minds.

At long last, Lazarus died
and we wept for sorrow again.
But we knew in our depths
that he was not dead,
that the Resurrection
promised by the prophets is real,
that death no longer holds sway
over our simple lives,
and that we will see each other again
in the world to come.

Amen

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.