Come Out!

I’ve spent some time this week with the story of Lazarus, Mary and Martha in John 11, as well as the chapter “Broken” in the Henri Nouwen book, Life of the Beloved. These readings have left me considering what is Jesus calling me to come out from.

InJohn 11, Lazarus has died and everyone is a little angry with Jesus. But no worries, Jesus comes to let Lazarus, his sisters and friends see what God can do. In verse 43, Jesus calls to Lazarus in the tomb, “Come out!” Now if I was Lazarus, having been dead for four days, I think I might have seriously considered staying dead. Hanging with God seems like a much better deal. Just think what Lazarus comes back to: Jesus is headed to Jerusalem and his destiny with the cross. Pain, suffering and confusion await. There will be joy, yes, but things don’t necessarily get easy.

When we read this story, Jesus isn’t just calling Lazarus to come out – he’s calling to me, and to you. “Come out!” Jesus calls, “Follow me.” Come out of your fear, come out of your self-rejection, come out of darkness and come into the light. Nouwen writes that we must step into our pain and brokenness and God will bless us and help us find that we are beloved. I find this difficult. I’d rather avoid and ignore my pain and brokenness. It seems hard and scary. But Jesus’ words call to me and fill me with hope: “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, will live even though they die.” (John 11:25)

May we hear Jesus’ voice calling us to “Come out!” this and every day. May this offer of resurrection give us hope and life.

God bless you,

John 11: 1-45

Lazarus, come out!
Come out from the career crypt
where frenetic ambition
leaves you no time
for family, prayer or contrition.

Lazarus, come out!
Walk from the burial chamber
that is your mega dollar home
with its security system
and prison-like grills in chrome.

Lazarus, come out!
Escape from the tomb
of academic games you’ve won,
where you dissect many creeds
but trust and follow none.

Lazarus, come out!
Rush from the crematorium
of contemporary lust
that burns you up
and turns your life to dust.

Lazarus, come out!
Break from the pretty tomb
of fashion, where you rob
your own true self
to blend with the shallow mob.

Lazarus, come out!
Forsake the religious coffin
where the pious pray
for a better world
yet don’t live it day by day.

Lazarus, come out!
Come out of the white-washed grave
of voluble churchly word
and pious self-serving.
Follow again the living Lord.
                                                         Ó B D Prewer 1999

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