Fifth Sunday of Lent
Kenneth C. Kroohs
Ezekiel 37:1-14; Psalm 130; Romans 6:16-23; John 11:1-44
March 21, 1999
The gospel passage about the raising of Lazarus is one of my favorites! Many times I have referred to it when someone has suggested that Christians should not mourn, that it is inappropriate for anyone who believes in Jesus to mourn when a person dies. Baloney!! Or if I know the people better I sometimes use other words. For whatever reason, Jesus mourned ... Jesus cried. I think that ultimately the reason might be that Jesus cried to let us know it was all right for us to cry.
And the part about Jesus telling Lazarus' friends to unbind him...what power! God did part of the work but left the remainder of the project to us, to the community around Lazarus. Dwell on that for a while.
BUT -- to stay on schedule I have to switch back to the "Outline of the Faith". Fortunately the gospel part about unbinding Lazarus gives us a perfect pathway. Last week we began looking at what the church, the community of faith, the community Jesus would instruct to unbind us. We are on page 854.
Let's look briefly at the description of the church. The image, not literal description but image, of the church as the Body with Jesus as the head is very interesting. The head directs and guides the body.
And then we find what are called the four "marks" of the church. The four standards might be another way to hear that. And most of us do not understand what is meant when we say these words in the creed. The church is "one" - not divided. Paul tells us we may have separate parts, we have very different styles of worship and style of action, but that is very different from being separate beings.
"Holy" -- having the Holy Spirit within it. I suspect anyone who has been at some church meetings has wondered about that one! Sometimes this human operation does not appear to be very holy. That may be why it is so important for us to remember that it ...
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