TAKE AWAY THE STONE!
“Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb; it was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. Jesus said, ‘Take away the stone.’ Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, ‘Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?’ So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, ‘Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you hear me always, but I have said this on account of the people standing by, that they may believe that you sent me.’ When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out.’ The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with bandages, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, and let him go.’” (Jn 11: 38-44)
Martha’s faith, and consequently her spiritual vision, have been weakened by almost-inconsolable grief over her brother’s death. So she can’t see the point of the Lord’s words, “Take away the stone.” In fact she can’t “see” anything at all being accomplished by the Word of God, in her blinding, already-four-day-old grief. By this time, rather than “seeing” anything or anyone, she’s merely “smelling” something – the stench of death. Hence her quick objection to the Lord’s command, to take away the stone: “Lord, by this time there will be an odor…”
Let me try and open my eyes today, if I have been visited by grief, loss, rejection, or any other disappointment of the blinding, crushing kind. Because my Lord, the Lord of Surprises, can and does show me His “glory” in my immediate surroundings, when I have “the eyes to see”; the eyes of faith and gratitude, which let me let myself take away the “stone” (most often felt in the stomach), blocking me from new life, and a new way forward. Lord, help me see and do the next right thing today, as I hear You say to me, ever-so-simply, “Take away the stone.” Happy Lazarus Saturday, or Holy Saturday, friends of all calendars! Tune in to our daily, weekday "Morning Coffee" audio-podcasts, for some daily inspiration on our journey to Pascha and beyond it, and through this Coronavirus epidemic! Join our ca. 500 faith-inspired subscribers at: patreon.com/sistervassa. Love from Vienna, and please wash your hands & take heart, Sister Vassa