Our worship this lent has been wrenching. James and Davin have led us into uncomfortably honest places where, like in this week’s communion song we exclaim, “I want somebody to tell me what is the soul of man.” This Lent has been an invitation to listen to “sit in the dark and wait for the light.”
This Sunday, Jesus sat at the table of Lazarus, Martha, and Mary. Perhaps Jesus and Lazarus empathized withone another about what it felt like to be wanted. Lazarus, because he was raised from the dead, is undeniable proof of Jesus’ power and both men have a price on their heads.
The political and religious elite want both men silenced. They don’t know how else to respond to the inexpressible light that has just broken into their worlds. They are understandably frightened by the claims that Jesus is making and the actions that back him up. The brightness of Christ is blinding to them, not illuminating. It reminded me of a passage from Frederick Beuchner:
“People are prepared for everything except for the fact that beyond the darkness of their blindness there is a great light. They are prepared to go on breaking their backs plowing the same old field until the cows come home without seeing, until they stub their toes on it, that there is a treasure buried in that field rich enough to buy Texas…They are prepared for the potluck supper at First Presbyterian but not for the marriage supper of the Lamb…the good news breaks into a world where the news has been so bad for so long that when it is good nobody hears it except for a few.”
Mary is one of the few. She has sat in the darkness. She has wept. Listened. She breaks open a forty-thousand-dollar bottle of perfume onto Jesus feet, but Judas cannot see it as light. He sees it as folly, as waste, as the move of a pathetic woman who isn’t smart enough to use her money more wisely.
Bob suggested this week that often, the only faithful thing to do is wait in the darkness for the light. This Lent we’ve been waiting, sitting, listening. This Sunday we arrive in Jerusalem where we will experience great darkness, but we are also prepared to see extravagant light.