Jesus wept as he saw how distraught his friends were over the death of their brother. Why wouldn’t they be? He had been dead for 3 days.
Emotions and sorrow hung in the air as Jesus, his disciples and the community stood around his tomb. Some, in their grief were furious at Jesus for taking so long to get there. Some were just confused and still others were curious as to what Jesus would do now – Lazarus was dead and it seemed like it was his fault because he didn’t get there soon enough to heal him.
He asked those around him to roll away the stone. Roll away the stone? Why would they do that? He had been dead for days and would stink. Again, Jesus repeated his request. They complied.
Every eye was on Jesus waiting in breathless expectation – then came the most terrifying and life changing moment of their lives. He shouted, “Lazarus come forth!!”
As they gasped, Lazarus came limping forward bound up in cloths, hardly able to move.
As the people were reeling with the realization that Lazarus was alive, some crying, some jumping, some too terrified to move, Jesus turned to those standing around and said, “Unbind him and set him free.”
With those profound words, he tells us of the reality of our responsibility as community for those we love.
Lazarus had been dead for a few days. Was he still stinky? In fact what would they find under all those cloths? It might be messy work. It might be hard work. Jesus didn’t say to unwrap him until he got messy. He didn’t tell them to go home and have some supper and do it at their convenience. He just merely told them to do it.
He raised him from the dead but he asked the community to let him go; to unbind him.
What does this mean to us? It means that we need to find our community. We need to find those that will be willing to walk with us through the messy parts of our lives. We need to find those that we can speak to, that we can be vulnerable with.
True community lets you lose all the judgement, all the criticism, all the impossible expectations – true friendships are there to untangle life’s rough bits. They are there to put polysporin on the wounds. Let you be totally vulnerable and authentic but at the end of the day dress you and put you up on a rock with a sword in your hand. They do the hard work of healing you – of allowing God to do the deep soul work.
We are to find those people that feel like home; those people to whom we call brothers; our soul sisters.
We all have several different faces. It doesn’t make us fake or unauthentic. We are made of so many parts. We have our professional face. We have our work hard face; our party hard face; our church face, our mother face. Once in a while all those faces come together and make the true vulnerable person of the heart. The person that we are. When we are with those who accept every face and every circumstance that we have been through and are going through, we are home. Those people are the people who love and accept and encourage us in every treacherous step.
Likewise, we need to look at those that we walk with and know that we are to set them free. We are to touch them with the hands of freedom and the hands of grace rather than the words of condemnation. Our responsibility is clear. We are to set them free. Jesus does the resurrection. We have the ability and the responsibility to set them free.
If you don’t have your people, find them.