Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met Him. When the Jews who were in the house consoling Mary saw how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there. When Mary came to Jesus and saw Him, she fell at His feet and said, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you put him?” He asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they answered. Then Jesus wept. (Emphasis is mine)
I remember as a 5-year-old sitting in Sunday School when I first heard the story of Lazarus. My sweet teacher took out flannel characters Jesus, Mary and her sister Martha and Lazarus wrapped up like a mummy. The two ladies were crying as they stood by the tomb of their brother. My young mind was so fascinated with these flannel characters, I really didn’t understand the story. Why were the sisters crying and then why was Jesus crying?
In my lifetime, I heard this story several times and each time I was more enlightened. But, it was when I was in Seminary I heard another perspective from Dr, Dennis Guernsey. He said, that in this passage Jesus is demonstrating to us an example of empathy and love.
Since, March 17, 2020, COVID-19 has raised havoc on our world. I must confess that in the first few months, I was irritated with all the COVID procedures that needed to be implemented in my office. Then the sheer irritation of how it affected our grocery stores and our favorite restaurants. I found myself asking friends, “Do you know of anyone who has tested positive for COVID?” And I heard a resounding – NO! By the time winter rolled around, I began to hear of friends and colleagues that contracted this disease.
Then, in these past couple of weeks, I heard of friend’s loved ones who have died of complications of COVID-19. My perspective was confronted with pain, loss and grief. I found myself, asking God how should I respond? I was gently reminded of the above story. “When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. . . Then Jesus wept.” Do you see it? Jesus wept.
Tuesday night at our bible study, my heart ached with the pain and grief of my friends. I honestly don’t know how long this pandemic will continue, but Jesus shows us how to respond. We are to love, pray, cry with those affected. We can bring a meal over or babysit their kiddos, but most of all embrace them while they grieve. February is know as the Love month – how then will you love?
Thank you for your continued support and prayers of City Impact as our staff demonstrates daily God’s love for our community.
Because of Him,
Betty Alvarez Ham
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