Crossing Boulevard

with Rev. Rachel


I rest from offering my own words here this week. I am inclined to guard my energies for the holy days ahead of us. Or maybe I just need to say it: It has been a hard month of preaching. If I am to take to the pulpit again, come Sunday—God help us—that good and this month, grueling work is calling.

What follows is another’s introduction of Lazarus. I treasure the bit about Lazarus looking around unsure of “which side he was on”. It is so very true to John, the gospel that won’t quit when it comes to abundant life now:

Lazarus and his two sisters lived in a town called Bethany a couple of miles outside Jerusalem and according to the Gospel of John were among the best friends Jesus had. He used to drop in on them whenever he was in the neighborhood, and when he made his entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, it was from Bethany that he took off, and it was also to Bethany that he went back to take it easy for a few days before his final arrest.

When Lazarus died, Jesus didn't arrive on the scene until several days afterward, but he found the sisters still so broken up they hardly knew what they were saying. With one breath they reproached him for not having come in time to save their brother and with the next they told him they knew he could save him still. Then, for the first and only time such a thing is recorded of him in the New Testament, Jesus broke down himself. Then he went out to where his friend's body lay and brought him back to life again.

Recent interviews with people who have been resuscitated after being pronounced clinically dead reveal that, after the glimpse they evidently all of them get of a figure of light waiting for them on the other side, they are very reluctant to be brought back again to this one. On the other hand, when Lazarus opened his eyes to see the figure of Jesus standing there in the daylight beside him, he couldn't for the life of him tell which side he was on.

Frederick Buechner, Peculiar Treasures