This week at home for adults
Resources to read and reflect on this week's Bible passages
This week's Live your faith sheet
(Bible notes, prayers, a picture and questions for reflection, a live your faith action)
Read and reflect
What do you think tells us most about Jesus? Is it the miracle of the Messiah calling dead Lazarus alive from the tomb? Or is it the picture of a very human Jesus wrestling with his emotions, perhaps even his fears and doubts, as he feels compelled not to respond immediately to the summons of Mary and Martha? What courage it must have taken to confront that substantial fear of Jewish hostility articulated by the disciples, to face the sisters’ grief, and the mutterings of the neighbours, and finally to approach the tomb, unblocked and stinking, to give the command.
Have you ever had to perform in front of an audience? Were you anxious? Could Jesus be human at all and not have had to overcome a moment of fear? How would a restored Lazarus look? What if he refused to come out, or attacked Jesus for dragging him back to a life he had left gladly, or turned on his sisters for subjecting him to this?
Surely the emphasis on uncomfortable human realities, the tears, the misunderstood words and actions, and the stench of decayed flesh, is deliberate. God does not wave a magic wand to produce a rosy, romanticised and unreal replacement for human life. God enters into human life to renew and refresh it from within – sore, raw and messy as it is. Mary and Jesus have to dry their eyes. Lazarus wasn’t sleeping, or in a coma: he was dead and had been entombed. This wasn’t just a compassionate human Jesus gently rousing a beloved. This was a divine Jesus demonstrating his power’s full cost in human tears and indignity, a foretaste of what was to come.
Cut out a teardrop shape from thin paper or tissue paper. Think of people and places that weep with sadness and need fresh hope and God’s resurrection power. Be still and quiet for a few moments, holding your teardrop before God.
Thank you, Lord,
that you weep with the world as you wept with Mary and Martha.
Comfort your people as we comfort others.
Bring restored hope to those I hold up before you today.
May they know your resurrection power.
Look around at home and identify things that bring you comfort, e.g. a greetings card, running shoes, a photo. In what other ways might you offer comfort to someone when everything seems to be going wrong for them? What Bible verses, hymns or songs give you comfort? Sometimes just being a calm and non-judgmental presence can bring a sense of peace and acceptance to another person – words may not be needed at all! How could you be alongside someone else to offer comfort at the moment? We remember today that Jesus is our ever-present comfort when we are troubled or feel all alone.
Listen and sing
War in the time of peace, Wolves at the gate on Types & shadows
Scars, I am they on Trial & triumph
Move (keep walkin’), TobyMac on This is not a test
Traditional hymn: Come down, O love divine