Signpost for Sunday 2 April, 2017, Passion Sunday: Ezek 37:1-14; Ps 130; Rom 8:6-11; John 11:1-45.
Sometimes rather than pull a particular text to pieces I find it interesting to view the readings for the week as if I heard them one after the other and not followed by a sermon. Inevitably this week most people who turn up at church will hear a sermon based on the Lazarus story – it’s Passion Sunday after all.
And yes, I’m as affected as the next person by that narrative, and as confused still as to why Jesus waited three days to turn up.
But what struck me most on reading Ezekiel, Romans and John yet again was not the miracles and wonders but the simple point that in each there’s no sign of life, until God turns up. In other words, in these stories, without God there is no life.
Paul’s letter to the Romans tells them to stop dwelling on their past, it can’t be changed. And any way they were as good as dead in their old lives. Now they have their whole lives ahead of them, as it were. And that phrase we usually associate with hope and anticipation.
The dry bones of Israel come back to life the sense I take form this is that Israel in exile see no future for itself and again is as good as dead. Ezekial’s job as prophet is to help the nation rediscover a future and realise that its whole life is ahead.
As for Lazarus, let’s not dwell on the reality or otherwise of the story. And I’m not sure it does much good seeing this is a foreshadowing of Jesus own resurrection. I prefer to see it at the very least as perhaps the first example of people coming alive to the possibilities that living with Jesus opens up.