Reading: Isaiah 25:6-9 and John 11:32-46, 53
Theme: Saints unbound
Why isn't the raising of Lazarus just a good news story? What is there about the Pharisees that makes them want to kill Jesus for bringing Lazarus back to life?
Or, what is there about people coming to life again, that brings out the Pharisee in us?
It's interesting this story is chosen for worship on All Saints' Day. Maybe it suggests that saints -- the persons in our time who practice a certain wholeness of life, are really just those who are un-bound and set free from the kinds of things that hinder and tie up the rest of us.
And according to Isaiah, one place we find something to free us from the things of our time that tie us up and enslave us, is on "the holy mountain" -- wherever we go to worship God, to hear God's Word of good news, to become a community of holy spirit together with other worshippers. At least, that's where he places his hope in his time.
But when I read the story of Jesus raising Lazarus and setting him free from his grave-clothes, and the reaction of the Pharisees to try to keep this kind of thing under wraps and stop what Jesus is doing, and I remember they are the religious leaders of their time in charge of the places where people most commonly went to worship God, it makes me wonder what our religious place and my own and others' leadership in it is like.
Here in our church do we help set people free from the things that tie us up? Or do we try to keep things under wraps, tightly tied up, and just a little bit dead?