How many of us are like Lazarus, closed in darkness, without light, and with a big tomb stone isolating us from living our lives?
What is your tomb stone?
The one you carry with you or the one which pushes you down all the time and does not let you live your life?
It might be panic or fear of death.
The more you are afraid, the worse the fear becomes.
For some of us, the stone which isolates us from life is simply our inability to accept who we really are.
It could be that you think that you are not slim enough, not beautiful enough, and not as muscular as you think you should be, perhaps not handsome enough or you don’t think you have enough money.
And …you spend all your energy trying to fight it, fix it or hide it, but you are trying to hide what does not exist, what is not reality.
This is very sad: we are fighting a battle with enemies that really don’t exist.
Your personal tomb stone can be un-forgiveness of someone or a memory of something bad that happened to you long ago, of which you cannot let go.
What if you discover that you have homosexual tendencies? That kind of trouble can bury you. Or perhaps you drink too much, you watch bad stuff on TV or on the internet, or you are feeling shameful that somebody close to you does something unacceptable.
We read the bible and see that Jesus wept for Lazarus.
I see him bursting in tears as He sees us [in the tombs we make for ourselves], and what is worse and even more sad, is us not wanting to leave the tombs we created for ourselves.
It is, at least for me, one of the biggest tragedies that can happen.
You can spend all your energy trying to hide your tomb stone, trying to hide what does not exist. You are then fighting battles that do not exist. You are trying to prove things that are obvious to everyone else.
In this gospel we read further that Jesus said “Take away the stone.” So they take it away. Sometimes it requires others to remove our stone. This means we ask for help, and so very often we do not ask for help.
We don’t like to ask for help in a personal area of our lives.
We don’t like to talk about our tomb stones in public.
We prefer keep it to ourselves… so nobody can touch it.
In some cases your family is falling apart, or you cannot get along with your spouse, or you have all the symptoms of depression. Perhaps it is that you are in the middle of what is called a mid-life crisis…or perhaps it is alcohol, or abusing drugs. It could be that you are content only to watch TV, or watching trash on TV or you could have an addiction to the internet for shopping or for pornography.
Some stones you cannot roll away by yourself. But you don’t want to ask another for help.
And how difficult and humbling is to ask for help? Or advice or support during a difficult time? It would be the most humbling thing for me to join an AA meeting, to step forward and acknowledge that there is stone in my life which has crushed me and I cannot help myself.
What is your tomb stone?
What keeps you from living your life, from being the best version of yourself?
What keeps you in sadness, despair, in anger, hatred, in a state of un-forgiveness and in a web of lies?
What is that stone that has sucked life out of you?
How long do you want to let Jesus weep over you?
How more many years of darkness and pain do you foresee?
There is life, true life, in abundance. It waits for you and me.
Let others move the stone, or let others help you move the stone. First, acknowledge that it exists.
Then ask for help, go to confession, start asking God to help you.
Quit punishing others you love. Quit punishing our Savior by continuing to suffer.
You have more than 30 minutes remaining in this service to talk to God about your tomb stone.
Don’t waste any more of your time in darkness, pain, despair and loneliness.
You deserve much more. You know it, and God knows it.
I know a few people who experienced life after death. They didn’t want to come back to earth, they wanted stay there, and this experience changed their life.
I know some people who were terrified by a similar experience because they experienced hell. And those people are thankful that God gave them one more chance to repair their lives.
We all know that we will die but we live in a way that says it won’t happen soon.
We hope that it will not be soon. Don’t we try to find a way to cheat death, to escape death?
It is perfectly normal to worry about what will happen to your kids, your family members and loved ones when you are gone, but we miss there one very important thing….
We forget or we don’t even consider that God will provide for them, that he will take care of them.
It is painful to lose somebody very close to you, most of us have already experienced it, but still I ask myself…
Why do we Christians, who believe in life after this life, an eternity in heaven, why do we behave and live our life as if that were not true?
This is a very profound statement:
God chooses for us the best moment for us to die.
What do you think about that statement?
Of course we don’t agree except in the case of somebody who is 120 years old.
In all other cases, we think that there is no good time for us to die.
It simply doesn’t fit into our schedule.
I believe God chooses for every one of us, the very best time to die.
I still don’t understand why some die and others do not, or why some must suffer more than others, but I believe that I am ready now.
Of course, I prefer not to die soon, in part because I enjoy life, but if God wants me to die I am ready now.
And it gives me great freedom. It is a truth that I will die someday. It is likely that I will die sooner than I think I will die.
But that sets me free, free from illusions, from false dreams, and it helps me to prepare myself for that.
Christ can roll away the stone of our past life,
He can give us power to start again, to live again, and to live abundantly.
Today’s gospel bids us to look at what is dead within us.
Come forth from the tomb! Let yourself be untied, remove the burial cloths, so that you can go free.
Jesus wept. Jesus burst into tears.