When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’ When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. ‘Where have you laid him?’ he asked. ‘Come and see, Lord,’ they replied. Jesus wept. (John 11:32-35 NIV))
“Come & See” – Humanity’s Cry
Recently on a retreat with some friends we were praying the story of Lazarus’ death and Jesus’ miraculously restoring him to life. Jesus is late getting to the scene and the sisters Mary and Martha are grieving and a bit ticked that he is late.
As I let the story wash over me in the quiet, I saw Mary, surrounded by the loud wailing of Middle eastern mourners, speak for her own longing but somehow for all who have pain.
The two cries here are first “If only”. It is usually followed by “God had prevented, fixed, managed, controlled” whatever is our sorrow. And then when we feel there are ears in the universe we cry out “Come and see” …. the suicidal First Nations girl, our trans-gender grandchild, the starving in the Sudan, the victims of a mass shooting, a family grieving the death of their wife and mother … the list is endless.
The compassionate Jesus intervened here but by doing so he did two things. He made Lazarus an assassination target because he was creating crowds for Jesus, infuriating the keepers of the status quo. Secondly, he pulled the pin out of the hand grenade and his arrest and crucifixion ensued. “Jesus wept”. He wept with the pain of the world and then engaged it with his whole body, mind and spirit.
Loving God, we often say “if only” in our prayers and also “come and see” hoping that life will be easier, pain will be gone, or sorrow will end. Thank you that you weep with us, and by your embrace of our pain you give us hope and courage to face it and persevere through it. Help us as we point at the pain of the world to also engage it ourselves with hope and healing… For Jesus’ sake