We are now one week before Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week. The readings are about life and death, death and life. The prophet Ezekiel is given a vision of a valley of dry bones, and as he watches, the Lord brings those bones back to life. As the people of Israel have been struggling and suffering, God promises to bring them back to life. In the Gospel we have the story of the raising of Lazarus from the dead. Martha, Lazarus sister, says to Jesus, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died…” But it seems that Jesus had something more in mind than just another healing miracle. Both of these are powerful stories and can be found at www.lectionarypage.net.
I received news this week of the deaths of three people. One, John, I didn’t know personally; he was the father of a friend. Another, Janet, I knew fairly well through my many years in the Diocese of Bethlehem. She was a wife, mother, parish administrator, a singer and a good friend. She will be missed. The third, also Janet, was a woman who has been a close friend for many years, the wife of my parish priest in Mendham. She taught me so much about life, from the basics to the most profound. At age 96, we would not detain her, yet her loss from this world is great indeed. All of these have entered into larger life, where I have no doubt they have been welcomed by all who have gone before into the loving arms of God. Life and death, death and life. Miracle and Mystery, all at once.
Let us pray: Father of all, we pray to you for all those whom we love but see no longer. Grant to them eternal rest. Let light perpetually shine upon them. May their souls and the souls of all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
Almighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners: Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that, among the swift and varied changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Peace and blessing,
Thanks and Love