Friday, November 05 2021
In this week’s Gospel, Mary comes to Jesus. She knelt at his feet and said to him,
“Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus began to weep. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go” (John 11:32-44).
The real question I have for you today is: Are you open to the mystery of God and the unimaginable ability for the Gospel to transform our lives? Where will you be when you emerge from this Covid 19 cave? We live in a world filled with hate and there are always factions drawing each of us against one another. We are faced with forces that draw us from the love of God and the love of one another. We must believe that the Gospel has the power to turn us ever so slightly from our current trajectory to the Kingdom of God. To do that we must face the fact that we need to turn from the dead areas of our lives and the darkness of the cave we sometimes live in and walk into the light. How does our Lord come to the dead areas of your life and call you to come out? What is the tomb of your life? There are factors that bind all of us and limit us. Hate, violence, selfishness, the need for power and excessive money are examples of things that bind us and limit us. Warren Wiersbe once said that “God doesn’t bless us just to make us happy. God blesses us to make us a blessing (to each other).”
At St. John’s we have a wonderful family of people that are a blessing to one another. At St. John’s, we want to bring people to newness of life through the teachings of Jesus Christ and in the sacraments. We are a Christ centered church that values tradition, yet moves forward in the Holy Spirit. During our stewardship campaign, many people have witnessed why they love St. John’s and what brings them joy. We have something special here at St. John’s. It is the love of Christ. Our parish is dedicated, “to know Christ and to make him known.” We are trying to live in the present reality as we move towards the kingdom of heaven. The political environment may make us a little anxious, but our faith is the rock that never moves. Please love God and one another as Jesus Christ loves us. We have something very special here at St. John’s. Giving your time, talent, and treasure brings both you and this community to a place where we can minister to our children, the poor, the sick, and the thirsty. Giving of ourselves for the sake of others literally ushers in the coming kingdom.
On Sunday, we will celebrate All Saints' Day, the Holy Eucharist, Baptism and Loyalty Sunday. We will reaffirm our own commitment to Christ in the Baptismal Covenant. I ask each of you to first commit yourselves to Christ and then to turn in your pledge card during the offertory. If you are out of town, please mail your pledge card to the office by November 14th. Please join us for this very special Sunday and give generously to St. John’s.
In Christ’s love,
Rev. Duncan Burns