Last Friday in October, and the cool, pleasant Northwest Florida autumn weather is still mild enough to walk in short pants and a short sleeve shirt. Wearing my “USN Retired” with 05/06 scrambled eggs cap. Some weeks ago I dropped off a car at CramerGM for servicing, and seeing my Navy cap the attendant asked, “Are you a retired admiral?” One of these days maybe I’ll see a baseball cap with the bill for a flag officer and promote myself. Maybe not. Maybe.
After the walk, breakfast at Bayou Joe’s, eggs over medium and dry wheat toast. Dry not as a health enthusiast but because dry toast soaks up egg yolk better than buttered toast. Black coffee.
Now in my office pecking out a blogpost and contemplating Sunday School class day after tomorrow, what? All Saints Day it is: 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.” The Gospel of the Lord
According to the story, this sign so astonished the crowds who were curious about Jesus that they started looking up to him instead of to the Temple authorities. In the Gospel according to John this is the final straw that makes the authorities perceive Jesus as such a threat to their authority that they must have him killed -- church politics no less an issue in those days than today. It even happens in the Episcopal Church. In my memory it has been the color of the new carpet, whether the organist vests, the youth group not cleaning the oven after their pizza night, little kids in the restroom peeing and leaving urine on the floor, prayer book revision, women delegates to diocesan meetings, women priests and bishops, gay clergy. Gay marriage may still be a minor issue, but if so it’s evaporating in the face of what is, because our God is not so small that he's worried about gay marriage when there are hungry people and people without medical care and people with no place to sleep tonight; and besides we have Good News to proclaim: “this Bread means Jesus loves you.”
Did Jesus really raise Lazarus from the dead? That’s the story, and in John’s account Jesus is the logos who spoke all things into being in the Beginning, so “Lazarus, come out!” is no surprise.