38 Jesus was deeply disturbed again when he came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone covered the entrance. 39 Jesus said, “Remove the stone.”
Martha, the sister of the dead man, said, “Lord, the smell will be awful! He’s been dead four days.”
40 Jesus replied, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believe, you will see God’s glory?” 41 So they removed the stone. Jesus looked up and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me. 42 I know you always hear me. I say this for the benefit of the crowd standing here so that they will believe that you sent me.” 43 Having said this, Jesus shouted with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his feet bound and his hands tied, and his face covered with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Untie him and let him go.”
45 Therefore, many of the Jews who came with Mary and saw what Jesus did believed in him.
The story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead is truly a dramatic one and we love to hear it. Jesus wanted it to be dramatic. He knew Lazarus was sick but he didn’t immediately come to help because he wanted God to get greater glory. We read that many people were there to comfort Mary and Martha so there would be many people to tell the story. We don’t hear much more about Lazarus after his recovery but surely whenever his name was mentioned, people said something like: “you know, Lazarus – the guy Jesus raised from the dead!”
As Kate reminded us on Sunday, we may not all have a story as dramatic as Lazarus’, and some of us may just have weird stories of faith that we are hesitant to share. I am one of those people but still, I will share my story with you here.
About 12 years ago, I was contemplating quitting my job and making some other changes to my life. I was at the beach in North Carolina, and when I am there, I spend a lot of time walking and praying. I was struggling to find clarity so I asked God for a sign – a piece of sea glass to show me to stay put and to trust that things would work out. If no sea glass, I was leaving. Why sea glass? I had never found any before. At 2 pm on my last day at the beach I found a piece of sea glass. I stayed at that job a few more years and then a position opened up elsewhere. I still have that job today.
Since then I have asked for sea glass when I need to make a vital decision or if I just need clarity. I’ve even gotten specific colors of sea glass. I have only ever found sea glass when I ask for it and it is really rather random – it’s not like I avoid looking at other times. In 2022, I found sea glass twice. I thought a blessing for Joe and Kate’s wedding would be special. My husband and I walked on the beach at sunrise the day of their wedding and as I was leaving the beach I found a piece of sea glass. I gave it to Kate just before the wedding. This is my quirky example of how our God has a personal interest in us, just as Jesus had a very personal interest in Lazarus, Mary, and Martha.
So your next question would be, how does this tie in to “why church?” I was very active in a church where I live in Indiana, Pennsylvania. As I saw that it was going to be a space that was less welcoming to LGBTQIA+ people, and after much prayer and some sea glass, I was led to leave. I miss being in person and when I visit MUMC I feel connected, but I also feel connected online. Corporate worship is a blessing to God and a blessing to us. It’s also a way to combine gifts and talents to make something happen that otherwise would not have. We don’t have to be of all one mind but we need to feel a part of something – that’s why church!
by Janet Waryck
P.S. – I am currently awaiting a bracelet that is being made from the sea glass I have found so far!
For Pondering & Prayer
Because we are known personally, God can and does do things specifically for us. What is something God has done in your life that seems to be just for you? Have you shared that?
Prayer: God who knows us, continue to show us what we need to see and open our eyes to see it. Amen.