Today’s segment of the story of the raising of Lazarus is an exchange between Jesus and Martha. “If you had been here my brother would not have died,” she says to him. “But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.”
Jesus tells her that her brother will rise again. She misunderstands him, thinking he means that Lazarus will rise at the end of time. But Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life.”
This morning as I read these words my mind expanded a little. In Jesus, Martha is engaging with a boundless source of aliveness, a catalyst that brings creative newness to everything with which he comes in contact. I am reminded of Marcus Borg describing salvation as light in the darkness, liberation from bondage, return from exile, reconnection with God (Speaking Christian). Being with Jesus is being in the presence of a liberating vision, of a release from the bonds that chain our imagination and stifle our hearts. It is being in the presence of what is truly awake and vitally alive. Resurrection is not so much the act of bringing Lazarus back from death and decay as it is the essence of Jesus, himself. He IS the resurrection and the life.
We can touch that essence of Christ in prayer. Prayer takes many forms, and it may or may not bring a sense of peace, joy, or connection. But even when we don’t “feel” it, over time prayer brings about transformation. Christ is a powerful aliveness that calls us out of all within us that is bound and dead, decaying in the dark caves of our soul. He calls us by name. “Come out,” he says.
In time, listening in prayer, we cannot help it. The Lazarus within us will respond. Against all odds he will stir, and shift, and make his way toward the light. For we hear the voice of Jesus not with our ears but with the very essence of our hearts.
The Martha within us waits in skeptical suspense. And she, too, will be transformed.