When Mary arrived where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.”
When Jesus saw her crying and the Jews who had come with her crying also, he was deeply disturbed and troubled. He asked, “Where have you laid him?”
They replied, “Lord, come and see.”
Jesus began to cry. -John 11:33-35
Our tight knit community is suffering through another tragic loss of life. Sometimes the most awful things happen and we don’t know why. We want answers, and reasons, but even if we got them they still wouldn’t really help, because what we really want is for the outcome to change.
During this Lenten season, Christians are especially focusing on the cross of Jesus Christ. So when things don’t make any sense, we remember that Jesus’ death on the cross also didn’t make any sense to his followers. They thought he was a promising new leader, on the verge of making it big. Then he gets executed by the government. Jesus’ friends were dizzied by shock and grief, as we are when tragedy strikes.
Jesus himself grieved the sudden passing of his friend Lazarus. Even though Jesus knew he would restore Lazarus to life again, still he grieved. When Lazarus’ family hurled questions at him, plaintively asking “Where were you, Lord!?!” he listened and did not rebuff their accusations. He too was disturbed and troubled. He wept with the family and friends of Lazarus. He grieved that disease and death and violence interrupt the goodness of God’s creation and the abundant life God intends for all of us to enjoy.
Even though Jesus knew that he would raise Lazarus and all people to new life, still he grieved. Even though the disciples had the promise of Jesus’ resurrection when they stood at his grave, still they grieved. Grief is the holy work that comes before the resurrection. Keep at it, dear friends in Christ.