Week Four: What Is Life and What Is Death?
This month at The Contemplative Writer, we’re reading Wondrous Encounters by Richard Rohr. Rohr is leading us through some Scripture meditations for the season of Lent.
The Scripture reading for yesterday, the fifth Sunday of Lent, is John 11:1-45, and its theme is key: life and death. Rohr writes:
Humans are the only creatures who have knowledge of their own death . . . This places humans in a state of anxiety and insecurity from our early years.
On this last Sunday before Palm Sunday, we dare to look at the “last enemy,” death. And the only way we can dare to part the curtain and view death is to be told about our resurrection from it!
We get a foretaste of resurrection in the raising of Lazarus, from the Gospel of John. Many of us are familiar with this story: in calling forth Lazarus from the grave, Jesus conquers death! I love what Rohr emphasizes about this passage:
[I]n a final brilliant finale to the story, he [Jesus] invites the onlookers to join him in making resurrection happen: “Move the stone away!. . . Unbind him, and let him go free!” It seems that we have a part to play in creating a culture of life and resurrection. We must unbind one another from our fears and doubts about the last enemy, death.
The stone to be moved away is always our fear of death, the finality of death, any blindness that keeps us from seeing that death is merely a part of the Larger Mystery called Life. It does not have the final word.
‘This sleep is not to end in death, but is instead to reveal the glory of God’. . . . With a sigh that came straight from the heart . . . He cried out in a loud voice, ‘Move the stone away! . . . Lazarus, come forth!’ . . . ‘Now, you unbind him and let him go free.’ — Jon 11:4, 34, 38, 43-44
Even as we prepare to accompany Jesus to his own death during this Lenten season, may we always remember that he is the resurrection and the life.
Read Wondrous Encounters here.