5th Sunday of Lent
Ezekiel 37: 12-14
Romans 8: 8-11
In the gospel of John, Jesus’ restoration of life to Lazarus is the signing of his own death warrant. The scene around the tomb of Lazarus has elements of Jesus’ own death and resurrection- the chief priest, grieving women, the tomb and linen clothes. The shadow of Jesus’ own Passion and death looms large; even the reference to Mary as the one who will anoint Jesus leads further into the story as this comes later in the narrative. Jesus proclaims that he is ‘the resurrection and the life’ and is affirmed as the Messiah. It is a scene of high drama and high emotion.
For all this, every time I read this gospel, I am struck by the simple phrase, ‘Jesus wept’. Working across the gospels, he will weep again over Jerusalem and in the Garden of Gethsemane. God cries over the loss of a friend who is loved and grieves with Lazarus’ family. None of us can escape grief; to be in a relationship with others and to love means it is inevitable. Faith does not excuse us from its reality. It can strike at the moment of recognition of death and loss and returns in many and unexpected ways. Jesus wept. He wept for his friends, for Jerusalem, for all humanity, and he weeps with us in our own pain and sorrows. Is God compassionate? Does God suffer with? Yes.
Alison Gore is a parishioner at St Paul of the Cross, Glen Osmond. She works in education and formation.