Thursday, March 29, 2007

Very moving blog entry...

I've recently come across a blog written by a priest called Fr. Stephen (I'm not sure if his last name is found anywhere on the blog). The blog is linked on our page, and is called "Glory to God for All Things". His latest entry is about Lazarus Saturday, which we are fast approaching (where has Great Lent gone?!?). It's titled "That You May not Grieve as Others Do Who Have No Hope". This part moved me most:

"I was caught off-guard last night at our service of the Presanctified Gifts. My thoughts of Lazarus Saturday were several days away, also intertwined with the fact that we are receiving 15 new members into the Church. But my mind was not on Lazarus. But the services of the Church are vigilant and remember what we would not yet contemplate. One of the verses sung by the choir said this:

Now Lazarus has been in the tomb two days, seeing the dead of all the ages, beholding strange sights of terror: countless multitudes bound by the chains of hell. His sisters weep bitterly as they gaze at his tomb, but Christ is coming to bring His friend to life, to implement in this one man His plan for all. Blessed art Thou, O Savior, have mercy on us!

It struck me that this is where we live most of our days. Not at Lazarus Saturday, at the General Resurrection of the dead, but two days out, while those we love seem lost to us and Christ seems no where to be found. But He is somewhere to be found, and He has a precise intention regarding his friend Lazarus. Christ does not close Himself off from the natural grief of human beings, but He does not grieve as one who has no hope. He is our hope and the assurance of our own resurrection and of those we love.

Two days in the tomb is a hard place to live. But as St. Paul reminds us in his First Letter to the Thessalonians, we should not “grieve as those who have no hope.” For we do have hope."

So true, isn't it? I think that normally on Great and Holy Saturday (the eve of Holy Pascha, not Lazarus Saturday), I am most focused on the joy of Christ's glorious resurrection, which is appropriate. But I think this year I will also try to focus on the past (those whom Christ has already freed from Hades, as we see in the icon of the resurrection), present, and future joy of being led out of the tomb; our resurrection.

Christ will soon be risen!+



LifeSpark said...

This is very beautiful and encouraging. Thanks for posting!

Anonymous said...

A thought provoking post.

I remember my father talking about the fact that Jesus wept when he arrived and his friend Lazarus was dead a couple of days. At that time I wondered about that too. Certainly, he experienced grief as we do, the emotion of the loss of one he loved and for the most part I was satisfied with that explanation. But perhaps there was more.
Recently I have been reading some real accounts of near-death experiences. One very common theme is that those who have been to the other side and are stopped and sent back do not usually want to come back.
Perhaps Jesus, realizing what it would cost Lazarus to have to return to this earthly existence, also wept at the thought of what he had decided to do. He did it for the living but I think he did it for us too, 2000 years later, as we recount the event and are moved by all its implications and are inspired with hope.