Like Lazarus …

Lent 5 (year A) / for April 10, 2011
[take away the stone]

The Resurrection of Lazarus, Giotto, 1305-08, detail, removing the stone from the tomb

I used to think Lazarus might have been disappointed to be recalled from death. Perhaps Martha and Mary needed him for their survival – why else selfishly beg for Jesus’ presence, especially at the cost of Jesus’ own safety? I think now, though, that Lazarus, conformed to the will of God, may have been content with the inconvenience, accepting the new threat of violence to himself and his family as a result of Jesus’ action. Lazarus may have been willing to be a SIGN, if not a walking target, to prosper the enterprise of the Good News, despite any and all consequences.

Having died already, what would Lazarus have to lose? I’ve talked with people who have died clinically and been resuscitated, who are no longer afraid of death. It isn’t that. It’s Lazarus living for something much larger than himself.

I overheard on older friend once describe my religious conversion when I was a young woman this way: “She’s Lazarus come out of the tomb.”  But life demands successive deaths and re-births. Maturing, growing in consciousness requires painful re-engagements with life-cycles of re-birth, self-sacrifice, transformation, dying, and being born again. My successive conversions, awakenings, look more like a hermit crab moulting, I think, leaving behind its exoskeleton time after time.

I’m due for a moulting. I feel new life thrashing impatiently within my soul. Why? Is it because I just turned 60? Is it because the long-shaggy-dog-story of a spring in the Northeast drags on and on and the daffodils have not even yet bloomed?  Is it the anticipation of Holy Week, that depth-probe into the psyche without which time itself seems dead?

A grace of aging is knowing from experience whatever it is will come in its own time, and once the creative life emerges, you can’t go back anymore than you can change your mind about having a baby when you are in labor.  I know I’m called, like Lazarus, to come out of my tomb, to become fully alive. Whatever that might mean.


2 Responses to “Like Lazarus …”

  1. Chris Says:

    You have helped me appreciate the Lazarus story in a way I never have before. Thank you, Suzanne!

  2. Diane Stavrum Says:

    ….to become fully alive….Whatever that might mean! Amen!

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