Sunday, March 29, 2020

Empathy before Resurrection: When Tears Need to Come First

This morning’s gospel story hinges on the raising of Lazarus, one of Jesus’ closest friends. The story is laced in emotions and may be one of those places where we see Jesus most vulnerable. He learns of Lazarus’ death and “he began to weep.”

If I am honest, that’s where I am most days right now. Sure, I trust we will be delivered from this mess. I am hopeful the financially broken, food insecure, and homeless will find their provision and shelter. I dare to believe doctors and scientists will discover our way out of this, to cure the sick and unbind humanity from this pandemic. Yes, the stench of this quarantine will pass (and, let’s be real, we do not shower as often these days, so the stench is ripening by the hour). 

But for now, I find more comfort in the empathetic tears of Christ than in the miracle of Lazarus’ resurrection. That’s because we are still in the thick of the unknown where promises of resurrection may feel empty at best and naive at worst. And Jesus knows this. So before he speaks or acts too quickly, he empathizes and weeps with his friends. Only then, likely, can these same friends trust Jesus to raise their dead brother and participate in his unbinding. 

But first he cries sacred tears. May these tears of an empathetic God meet you with holy comfort in these days. 
When the shelter in place, quarantine began in our household, Lily and I started morning #LilyLectioDivina. We pull out the lectionary Psalm and Sunday gospel and the font of her fingers illustrate the words of Scripture. Here's the running playlist :)