• Emma Keeton

2021_11_26 Insight Post- Emma Keeton

This week's reading- John 11-12

As we head full speed into the Christmas season there are events to go to, presents to buy, cards to write and family traditions to uphold. If I were to say yes to everything that looked good I would be worn out come Christmas Day, but I'm reminded through our reading of Lazarus this week to slow down and be present with Jesus.

In John chapter 11 the sisters Martha and Mary send word to Jesus that their brother Lazarus is sick and they expect their friend to come and heal him. Jesus intentionally waits 2 more days before he leaves for Bethany and by this time Lazarus has died. Lazarus is in the tomb four days when Jesus arrives and Martha and Mary are grieving. A common belief among Jews is that someone's soul wanders outside their body until the third day after death. On the fourth day the body begins to decay and enter Sheol-the domain of the dead. When Jesus calls Lazarus out of the tomb he is showing that he has complete power over death. He is able to raise Lazarus from the dead even when his body is in decay. There is another purpose, a greater purpose for those four days of grief. Jesus does not spare Martha and Mary the pain of that grief, but is with them as they grieve.

The conversations Martha and Mary have with Jesus while Lazarus is still in the tomb, show us the depth of relationship we can have with our savior. There is enough room and grace for Jesus to hear all of our emotions and in turn he will shed his light and truth on our deepest struggles. Martha and Mary both say to Jesus “if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21&32). We sense their anger, frustration and desperation in these statements. Nevertheless, Jesus takes the time to listen and be present with them, even though he knows that the story is not yet over. Our conversations with Jesus don't have to look pretty. They can be honest and we don't have to pretend we know the answers. There is enough space for us to be angry and sad about things that have happened to us. There is a tenderness that occurs with Jesus when we are this vulnerable. Jesus has our attention.

As Christmas season begins let's remember what kind of savior we have and give him our full attention. There is room for us to weep with him or rejoice with him. He is always with us.

Praying-by Mary Oliver

It doesn't have to be

the blue iris, it could be

weeds in a vacant lot, or a few

small stones; just

pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don't try

to make them elaborate, this isn't

a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which

another voice may speak.

Emma Keeton

Prayer Team Lead