The lectionary passage for Sunday is John 11, the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. In these days when the flow of life runs counter to my finding time to write, I chase words like a salmon trying to get upstream. Though the gospel accounts don’t say so, reading it through my eyes it’s easy to imagine Jesus was hindered in getting to his sick friend by the circumstances of his life. That was my starting point for my poem tonight.
When Jesus got word Lazarus was ill
he waited two days before he started
toward Bethany – not that far away.
You have to assume he had the best
of intentions, after all he was Jesus.
I know the story says he was sure
the sickness wouldn’t get the best
of his friend, but by the time he got
there, Lazarus was bound and buried,
When he got to the grave, Jesus wept,
then he called Lazarus out of the tomb
and back into life. The scene might have
played a little better had they undone
the bandages before Lazarus woke up.
We don’t know much else about him –
how long he lived, or how he felt about
his reanimation; how could he be the same?
No one recorded how much longer
he lived, or how those days played out.
The part of the story I wish I knew
was what happened at his second funeral.
I’ve always assumed he was outlived by
his sisters (they struck me as stronger),
so they would have buried him again,
this time without Jesus, who was gone.
Some things familiarity can’t soften.