When Jesus arrives, he continues, despite of the obvious evidence to the contrary, to insist that Lazarus will live. It’s when Jesus arrives at the freshly sealed tomb that he breaks down.
This verse is so important. I think in this moment we see Jesus’s humanity and his divinity perfectly united. God is the source of all life. Death then seems to be the ultimate denial of all that God is. Yet it is so fundamental to our experience of being human that the bodies in which we live on this earth at least do not last forever. In that moment when God incarnate is confronted with the ultimate denial of God’s self, Jesus the human being is confronted with the loss of his beloved friend. He weeps.
And yet in this powerful foreshadowing of his own death and resurrection, death is overturned.
In this life, we face many losses; we bear much grief. The longer we live, the more we carry. This grief could threaten to overwhelm us and snuff out our faith. But whatever our losses, that gift of faith holds out the hope that God will return to us that which is lost.
We mourn in the face of changes in our life – whether this entails the loss of familiar patterns and rhythms of life and worship or the loss of people we hold dear. The promise of faith in the God who weeps with us is that we are not left in our loss, though we may carry the scars of it in our hearts. In the midst of the loss of that which is familiar, God invites us to find new fulfilment in new opportunities. In the midst of the loss of those whom we love, God holds out the hope that we will one day find them again in the presence of God.
So, as winter approaches, and life appears to retreat for a time, let us be reminded and encouraged by the cycle of the seasons to remember that life is never truly snuffed out and that there are Springs and Summers ahead of us, both in this life and a life to come.
Peace be with you.