Preached at St. Luke’s Chapel
The Berkeley Center
Yale Divinity School
New Haven, CT
September 9, 2022
In memory of Queen Elizabeth II
Somewhere in cavernous unawareness Lazarus hears the scrape of stone. A voice calls, Come out! . . . . . . . Lazarus, come out! The words of Jesus lay a path of amber light. Lazarus wakes, wrapped in darkness soft as winding cloth, in a poultice of silence, smooth and sweet as spiced oil, his flesh strangely soft and rank.
Somehow Lazarus stands, stumbles, pantomimes what walking is, weak from stillness and decay. Grave clothes trail behind him taut as plumb lines still orienting him to death.
Lazarus knows death. Strips of linen leave the tomb with him bearing witness to where he has been. Lazarus knows resurrection, the blinding brightness at the opening of the tomb, the sight of Jesus in the blazing light, Jesus’ face still wet with tears. Lazarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha, remain weak and ashen from their grief.
In his homily on The Resurrection of Lazarus, St. Athanasius writes, “The tongue of Christ is full of life for everyone whom death has conquered.”
Jesus speaks LIFE and Lazarus feels the SPARK of RESURRECTION in his bones, in the RECONSTITUTION of his flesh. Christ SPEAKS LIFE into us. God speaking has brought us here, God’s word birthing something new in us, some new call or conviction or curiosity.
And if our hearts are heavy with the death of a loved one or the death of a queen, or the cognitive dissonance created by remembering the realities of colonialism during a time such as this, or when we are laid low by depression or fractured relationships, or bigotry or addiction, the One who loves us, the One who eternally longs for UNION and REUNION with us, first, he weeps.
And while he is yet weeping, Jesus stands at the door of whatever cold and loneliness we are lying in and speaks the words of everlasting life. God is speaking. COME OUT.