Thinking today about resurrection -the real Christian hope that we share, that God will raise us to new life, as recognizable individuals, loved by him.
In the story of the raising of Lazarus, Lazarus has been dead four days -his distraught sisters don’t want to open the tomb as Jesus asks because they expect the stench of a rotting corpse – ‘Christ, must we,’ the weeping women ask? ‘But there will be a stink.’
Christ, weeping himself, amid this crowd of mourners, gasping hoarsely* with emotion, [*the original Greek word is the same used as for a horse panting or snorting] insists and then roars -literally roars ‘Lazarus come out!’
Not a quiet, smug command, delivered without emotion. Not an imperious demand in a voice for the crowd to hear -but a passionate and sorrowful cry to literally waken the beloved dead.
And out Lazarus comes – not waiting like a magic trick by the tomb entrance, not sleepily rubbing his eyes like Snow White -but still wrapped even to the eyes, in the grave cloths, not even having had a second to free his face – he cannot fail to respond immediately to the passionate cry of the Son of God who loves him. God, who does not love moderately and reasonably, but immoderately, incomprehensibly, and unstoppably.
“Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD.”
Song of Songs 8:6