Lent 2011 - The Jesus Interruption
Each week of this season, we will be entering into the experience of an individual whose life was interrupted by an encounter with Jesus. This week - Lazarus, Martha, and Mary (John 11)
It stinks when you open up a tomb in which a dead body has been sealed for four days. Not meaning it “stinks” as in it isn’t the greatest situation, but that it really smells bad.
I love it that Martha pointed this out to Jesus, don’t you? As far as I can tell, Martha is in the Bible only twice, once in Luke 10 and once here, in John 11 and 12. And she is pragmatic to the core both times we encounter her.
Pragmatic, down to earth, no nonsense - Martha. In Luke, she is so occupied with doing stuff that she forgets to sit down and listen to Jesus. In John, she tactfully, and quite pragmatically, reminds Jesus that tombs tend to stink after a few days.
It reminds me of the woman at the well, who suggested Jesus would be unable to draw his water without a bucket. It reminds me of Nicodemus at night, who pragmatically suggested that it was going to be impossible to re-enter the womb of one’s mother.
Could it be that being practical, down to earth, no nonsense somehow misses the point? In all of these stories, the ones who took a stab at practicality had to be nudged a bit by Jesus in order to get to where he wanted them to be. Is being a Christian impractical?
No, that doesn’t seem right to me. I believe that my faith has many direct, practical implications on my life in many and various ways.
So maybe it’s more about getting stuck. Stuckness prevents you from moving. You get stuck in moments and are unable to progress. Nicodemus got stuck on “born again;” the woman got stuck on the bucket.
Martha got stuck thinking about stinky tombs and almost missed what Jesus had to say.
You get stuck in a tomb …
One way to say it might be that Jesus is in the business of getting people unstuck from wherever they find themselves and moving them to a better place.
Lazarus, come forth!