“…Thus he spoke, and then he said to them, ‘Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awake him out of sleep.’ The disciples said to him, ‘Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.’ Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead; and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.’ Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, ‘Let us also go, that we may die with him.’” (Jn 11: 11-16)
The above-quoted conversation happens “today” (in liturgical time), and two days after Jesus was informed that His friend, Lazarus, had fallen ill back in Bethany. So, “today” Lazarus dies, and four days from now, on Saturday, the Lord will raise him from the dead. As we prayerfully follow these events, leading up to the resurrection of Lazarus, one of the hymns of our Lenten Triodion for this Wednesday proclaims (or, more specifically, invites us to proclaim): “Today Lazarus has died; Bethany laments for him. But, Savior, You shall raise him from the dead, giving in Your friend assurance of Your awesome resurrection, of the death of hell, and of the life of Adam! Therefore we sing Your praises.” (Stichera-Hymn at Vespers, Wednesday of the Week of Palms)
Let me stay close to these events, letting myself be drawn in to them and participate in them, as our beautiful Tradition invites me to. As our Lord decides, “today,” to go back to the now very-dangerous Judea, where His enemies are plotting His death, let me hear Thomas say to the rest of us, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” Indeed, let me “also go” with Christ, to His cross, that I may die to my old life “with Him,” and be raised up to new life, in His upcoming resurrection. I make this decision already today, as Lent draws to an end, and we transition to the Great and Holy Week of the Lord’s great and holy “transition” or “pascha,” – from life to death, and then from death back to life, in His glorious resurrection. Lord, please forgive my feeble Lent, and accept me as I join Your faithful followers on Your final journey, toward the life-giving Cross and Resurrection.