Yesterday, the gospel was the Raising of Lazarus. When Jesus brings Lazarus back to life, He shouts.
Don’t you wonder why Jesus shouts? I do. I am an Episcopalian. Episcopalians do not shout. It is rude. And monks who live in a monastery – they do not shout. Priests rarely shout.
So why does Jesus shout? I mean…if he can raise the stinking, rotting corpse of Lazarus to life from outside the tomb– well, certainly he could be heard by Lazarus from outside the tomb. So why shout? Shouting is – well – it is rude. Shouting is shocking. Shouting is scary.
But the whole point to the All Saints gospel is that the gospel is shocking. And yet -we modern Americans – we have to DECIDE to allow ourselves to be shocked by God’s glory. The church calls this the “mysterium tremendum” the tremendous mystery – the glory of God. And I would dare to say that seeing –really seeing – moments of life-giving, awe-some glory – being shouted at by Jesus – may be the only real cure for the self-centered dull boredom which we all self-anesthetize with our wealth – our comfort – our make-shift glory.
The raising of Lazarus is about Glory. Jesus does not shout for Lazarus to hear him. Jesus shouts for US to hear him.
Lazarus is dead and rotting. Jesus and Mary and Martha are crying. Feelings are raw. Feelings are felt. There is no anesthesia to the pain. The Raising of Lazarus is a Biblical crowbar- prying open the boredom of our lives – begging us to be impressed by a God which makes life from death – demanding that we not remain bored.
When Jesus shouts for the mourners to open the cave where the dead Lazarus was buried it must have been scary and shocking- awe-full. After all, Lazarus has been dead for FOUR days. The corpse has begun to rot, swell and smell horrible.
Jesus shouts in today’s gospel! SHOUTS! The Greek word for “shout” only occurs eight times in the gospels and six are in John’s gospel. Most of the shouting is the cry of death by people like you and me “Crucify Him!” But isn’t it ironic that the shout of Jesus is for life! “ Come out! Unbind him! Let him go!” It is Jesus’ shout of Life which leads to Jerusalem’s shout for Jesus’ death next week.
Can you hear Jesus shout to us “Come out! Unbind him. Unbind her. Let him go!” Wake up and see the tremendous mystery and glory of God. Don’t miss this. From what death is Jesus shouting to you: “COME OUT! UNBIND HIM! UNBIND HER!”