I've held off on writing about Sunday's gospel reading, the raising of Lazarus, because it was almost too emotional for me. And others have said many beautiful things about the reading.
Sunday was one of those days when a sentence that you have read a thousand times suddenly jumps up and grabs you. Me, it always grabs by the tear ducts, but that's expected in our house. As we were standing listening to FrA intone the reading, this sentence jumped out at me:
"Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus."
What a simple sentence. A sentence that to most people is just a "yeah, and then?" sentence. But to me, on this Sunday, it was the strongest revelation of the incarnation I have had in a long time.
Jesus loved these three siblings. Not just in a universal, loving-all-mankind-in-general sort of way. He loved these three specific people. He had eaten dinner at their house. He had felt at home there. Bethany, and these people, had been a refuge for him. A resting place. A completely human love, added on to that completely divine love.
To think that! To be confronted with a God who comes to US, to eat with us, work with us, live with us and die with and for us! Nothing has brought that home to me as vividly as that one homely sentence. It makes me weep still.
How can it be? How can it be that we are loved with a love that strong, that deep, and that true? It is, of course, beyond our comprehension.
The General Thanksgiving wells up in my heart:
Almighty God, Father of all mercies,
we thine unworthy servants
do give thee most humble and hearty thanks
for all thy goodness and loving-kindness
to us and to all men.
We bless thee for our creation, preservation,
and all the blessings of this life;
but above all for thine inestimable love
in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ,
for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.
And, we beseech thee,
give us that due sense of all thy mercies,
that our hearts may be unfeignedly thankful;
and that we show forth thy praise,
not only with our lips, but in our lives,
by giving up our selves to thy service,
and by walking before thee
in holiness and righteousness all our day;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost,
be all honor and glory, world without end. Amen