Prayer before reading John 11

God, when I think about my job
as I read scripture —
rolling a stone away is an active metaphor.
I can do it and I don’t really know –
(such has been my relationship with the bible)
whether it’s going to be a miracle
or make a stink.

I can also see myself
as another kind of bystander –
unbinding the words and letting them go.

But that is all pretty symbolic.

What none of us is ready for
after telling this story
is having someone we all agreed
was really dead
get out of the grave
and walk straight at us
needing us to stop crying and help.

God bless the reading and hearing
of these words
and don’t let us duck.

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7 Responses to Prayer before reading John 11

  1. Stephen Price says:

    I love the line “someone we all agree is really dead.” I’ll be chewing on that for a while.
    What a mass Exodus from the graves around us might occur if we didn’t agree so much about who is really dead.

  2. Maren says:

    Oh, yes! But I am pretty sure everyone can think of one person in particular.

  3. Stephen Price says:

    My friend Maren
    Poet, pray-er outside my tomb
    Who like the sisters,
    demanded that Jesus do something
    Who helped cut away
    some of my grave clothes
    Now hurls poems at me
    like dodge balls driving me from sleep
    in the early morning hours.
    “Wake up! Wake up!” She cries,
    “Do you think you’re the only
    Lazarus out there?”

  4. dabar96 says:

    2 Lectionary cycles ago, I preached on the John 11 text. In my sermon, I said that I’d never actually participated in bringing someone back from a state of being physically deader than dead. Later that week, a member of the church who had just recently returned from a long period of non-attendance was waiting on me in the church parking lot when I returned from lunch. He got out of his car, walked over to me, put his hand on my chest, and forcefully (maybe even angrily) said, “How dare you spend your whole life with the power to raise people from the dead and never use it!” Then he turned around, got back in his car, and drove off.

    Yes, this fellow has a history of mental illness, but his words have given me more than pause, ever since, when I consider this text.

  5. Maren says:

    Wow!! bizarre experience but fascinating too in a multitude of ways.

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