Scripture: Living and Active

Scripture: Living and Active
Our most significant scriptures are marked with post it notes.

Continuing the work of Jesus, simply, peacefully, JOYFULLY, together.

We gather for worship at 9:30 am on Sunday.
Children go to Sunday school following their special time in worship, about 10:15 am.
Potluck is the first Sunday of the month.

17975 Centreville-Constantine Road, Constantine, MI 49042

Sunday, April 10, 2011

LENT FIVE: Lazarus -- A sign that shrieks

Monologue written by Donald Lanctot with excerpts from Nina Lanctot's poem, "Lazarus."

Lazarus, Come Out!

In the late mornings,
I sit on the ground and eat figs with the old men of the village.
The shade from Matthew’s shop protects us from the glaring sun.

Reports have it that Jesus, after leaving here, headed to Ephraim in the wilderness.

Martha has returned to her kitchen.
Even in the yard, we can hear the pots and pans banging in her hands.
But now she staggers around the house
as if she has seen trees walking and is no longer satisfied with simply
doing laundry,
and lighting the Sabbath candles.

Mary couldn’t stay in Bethany.
She followed Jesus.
No hesitation in her.
I have become her walking miracle.
Further evidence that those who believe in Jesus will see the glory of God.
First, the man born blind and now me called from the tomb.

Beyond Mary’s hearing, however, other voices surface.

One of my friends,
an old man with a crooked back and a black cough,
says that I am anything but blessed.
He tells me that I have become one of those pitiable men
spoken of
by the Samaritan priests.
A pariah,
marked by God,
set apart,
cursed to never find a grave to crawl into,
condemned to wander the face of the earth for all eternity.
Of course, much of what this old man says is fantastic.
He claims to hear ghosts
and talks of travelers going mad while walking among the desert places
where there is nothing but howling wind and solitary birds.

Eli, the coarse butcher, also thinks this is all a bad business.
He bellows that they dragged me to the light
as boys drag a rabbit when they have dug its hole away.

Another of my friends says that I have been turned into a sign
by some religious charlatan,
A wonder worker who cares more about his reputation
than for God or mankind.
After all, he says, why did this Jesus,
upon being told of my illness,
delay his coming for two days?
Why the delay?
A delay that cost Mary, Martha, and so many of my friends so much grief.
A delay that cost me my life.

As he sits, pulling on his stringy beard,
he asks the question I too silently ask,
“Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man
have kept his friend Lazarus from dying?”

I sit and listen, tracing pictures in the dirt.
Still unable to really eat, I pick at the end of a fig
and remember.

A fog of voices filled my house those last days.
Martha had left the kitchen.
Mary paced.
And I
Breath by breath

Our friend,
Our teacher,
Was stalled
Outside of town.

That was the last I knew.

It is not death,
it is the dying
I do not want to do again.

a numbness
is grace.

Then, four days after the tomb was sealed,
A fog of voices returned.
And from their midst one lone voice called,
“Lazarus, come out!”

I sat up slowly
And around my left side all my muscles ached.
My death was torn from me like caked gauze.
Rising was as hard as having died.

It hurt to breathe.

Each and every hair on my forearm stung
from tip to root
as they, by his command,
peeled the sodden cloths away.

I couldn’t stomach my own stench.

When I was finally able to use my eyes again
and match a face with the voice,
tears were still in his eyes.

And in a sea of grief that contained the grief of all of us,
All of our deaths, and all our dyings,
I thought I heard him apologize
for the miracle,
for the two day delay,
and for the unsolicited word
that called me out of the silent tomb.

I thought I heard him say,
“As for the others,
those who do not yet know me, nor love me,
the needed act, the one
They clearly wanted, was some sign that shrieked.”

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