Jesus wasn't the first human to be raised from the dead. Many religions and cultures through the history of humanity have clung to death and resurrection stories of their own, and even our own scriptural tradition prefigures and anticipates Jesus' resurrection from the dead through accounts of bodily resurrections.
In the Eastern Churches, the Saturday before Palm Sunday is celebrated as St. Lazarus Day, based on John 11:1-44. In this story ,the distraught Mary and and Martha express their anger at Jesus' seemingly late arrival to visit their brother Lazarus who is ill in Bethany. By the time he arrives, Lazarus has been dead for four days; the stench of death had long set in. Yet, as a sign of God's glory, Jesus raises Lazarus from the tomb, prefiguring his own imminent death and resurrection.
There is a lightness to this observance, offering a glimmer of light towards the end of Lent. In fact, quite humorously, when the Orthodox Christians assemble for Eucharist on this day in Jerusalem, they gather eating bananas as they process to Lazarus' tomb! (Yes, bananas!) When asked why, one Palestinian Christian answered quite simply: "Unbind him and let him go!" (John 11:44)
Of course, Lazarus' was raised presumably back to life temporal; Jesus' resurrection was to life eternal. Nevertheless, the raising of Lazarus reminds us of God's healing, redeeming, and restoring grace even in the midst of the pain and suffering of being human - even in the midst of Lent. As the whole creation groans for redemption at Christ's second coming, we get glimpses of light in the darkness.
This Monday night at Perichoresis will be a Lenten service of Healing and Wholeness as we seek the light together. There will be opportunity for the laying on of hands and healing prayer, as well as contemplative music and candle lighting. Now that it’s warmer, we will once again begin outside by the Chapel Street entrance at 6:11 pm and then head down to the undercroft to continue with dinner (soup, bread, and salad!) and the liturgy.
Those able and willing to help with setup are encouraged to come starting at 5:30 to help set up - your assistance will be greatly appreciated! As always, all are welcome! We would love to see you there.
Grace and Peace,
Seminarian, Trinity Church-on-the-Green
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