Editor's Corner | April 2017
On the Fifth Sunday of Lent we hear the familiar story of the raising of Lazarus. John’s account is packed with so many details but, I have always been intrigued by the end of the story and Jesus’ commands to Lazarus and to the crowd.
When Jesus saw the sealed tomb he said to those gathered: “Take away the stone.” After his prayer to the Father he calls, “Lazarus, come out!” Finally, when the dead man emerged from the tomb tied and wrapped in burial cloths Jesus speaks this dual command to the crowd: “Untie him and let him go.”
Jesus command to Lazarus is a personal one. Come out of the darkness into light. Come out of your death tomb into new life. Lazarus, come, join the living! The command to Lazarus is a call to each of us to know in our bones that new life comes from pain and suffering, that resurrection comes after death. Come out of oppression, come from being lost, abandoned, outcast or despairing; come into light, hope, confidence, joy. You are free! Come home.
The commands to the crowd seem very different.
“Take away the stone.” To me these words imply “do something.” Do something to release anyone in darkness, in oppression or in exile. Take away the stones that trap and keep others from living. Use your power to move stones.
“Untie (sometimes translated, unbind) and let him go.” Take away the trappings of death that keep someone bound or locked into places of despair and misery. Find places where there is hopelessness, desperation or people caught in cycles of death.
Places and people caught in this kind of death are continents and miles away and they are in our backyards. Jesus tells us to find them and let them go forth into the world so they too can give witness to the amazing power of God’s power over death.
We have the Easter season to ponder how we might do this as we listen to stories of the early followers of Christ as they gave witness to the saving power of the Resurrection.
Special note: Visit page 14 to view the changes to our music suggestions and a note from Celebration music editor, Michael McMahon.