The Gospel of John 11:32-44
When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, 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.”
Let us Pray: Almighty God, you have knit together your followers in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord: Give us grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those indefinable joys that you have prepared for those who truly love you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
Mourning is nothing to be ashamed of. Jesus wept when he learned of the death of Lazarus. Today the burden of death has been lifted. Even though we grieve at the earthly passing of a parent, spouse or other close person, we need to understand that they have been given eternal life through our Lord and savior. We can find hope in Jesus’ tears. On those lonely nights when we cry to God out of a sense of loneliness and hopelessness, echoing the cries of Mary, “Don’t you care, if you have been here, none of this would have happened!” we can still find hope. Our cries of anger to God do not cause wrath and fire from on high. Rather, they bring about a rain of heavenly tears. Our pain is not ours alone. We have a savior who cries with us and shares the burden of the pain. Life has suffering, that is the plain truth. Life is filled with streams of tears. We need to believe in the resurrection of Jesus, and we will also be reunited with those who have gone before us, and we don’t have to be a saint. Give us grace to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those indescribable joys that you have prepared for those who truly love you. There is a great freedom in Jesus. We have hope in the resurrection. We have hope that death cannot have the last word. We hope that death does not have an eternal hold on those who we have grieved at solemn funerals, and who we still grieve today. In this Gospel John reminds us that Jesus’s power is greater than death and nothing stops him from displaying the glory of God. Saints, past and present have experienced God’s grace so that we might believe in Christ’s resurrection power. On All Saint’s day as we sing from the hymn “I sing a song of the saints of God” For the saints of God are just folk like me and I mean to be one too.
Let us Pray: God of life, we give thanks for the love you have shown to the world through all your saints, and we celebrate our continuing communion with them whenever we worship. We look forward to being part of the crowd around your throne in heaven on the last day. In the meantime, keep us looking to Jesus and help us to keep giving a clear witness to him, living the holy lives you have called us to live by the power of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus holy name we pray. Amen