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Sermon for the 4th Sunday of Lent  2019

March 31, 2019

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All Saints Sunday

November 4, 2018

Wisdom of Solomon 3:1-9      Rev. 21:1-6a         Psalm 24      John 11:32-44

 

      A husband and wife met another couple at a restaurant.  After lunch, the women decided to go shopping, and the men decided to go sailing.  While they were out on the water, a storm blew up.  The tide had gone out, and they were downwind, trying to work their way back through a narrow channel.  At one point, the boat grounded, and they had to climb overboard and shove with all their might to get it back in deeper water.  As the new friend stood there, ankle deep in mud, the wind blowing his hair wildly, rain streaming down his face, he grinned at his friend, and with unmistakable sincerity said, “Sure beats shopping.”

    A friendship is emerging.  These two men don’t want to spend their time doing something they don’t enjoy.  They prefer the demands and difficulties of sailing.  The new friend is authentic in his sincerity as he shares delight in coping with sailing rather than shopping.  Sincerity is good; it is in the moment when a real person shines through and a deeper relationship is made possible.  Jesus and Lazarus had that kind of relationship.

      This amazing drama of the raising of Lazarus unfolds after Lazarus has been in the tomb for four days.  We envision him wrapped in cloths and the smell of death coming from his body.  This image is horrible, even around Halloween. It carries with it an image worth a thousand words, words conveying hope, promise and fulfillment.  This very moment reminds the faithful of what Jesus said earlier in John’s Gospel, “Very truly I tell you, the hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who will hear will live.”