Psalm 137 • Jeremiah 31:27-34 • Romans 11:25-36 • John 11:28-44 or John 12:37-50
By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion. No words can describe the pathos of this Psalm; it is simply heart-rending. The desperation of a people wrenched from their home and forced to make mirth in the wake of catastrophe. We share their desperate grief. Our world is filled up with catastrophe. Life is splintered. The shadows threaten to strangle our bright hope for this Earth, our fragile home. How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?
Jesus wept, too. For one brief moment in the Gospel of John the cosmic Word-made-Flesh behaves like a child of our broken humanity rather than a scion of the bronzed race of the gods. He does not weep because Lazarus is lost, but because the great sadness of Mary penetrates the divinity of Christ and calls forth the tears of Jesus’ mortality. Jesus wept. But that is not the end of the story. The grief turns to astonished delight as Jesus calls forth Lazarus from out of the depths, alive again. Jesus commands those watching to unbind Lazarus from his death shroud and set him free.
Jesus weeps today, too, with and for our world. We may weep for our world—for our remembered Zion—but our weeping must turn to astonished delight, because Jesus has called this world back from the dead. To all who follow the Way of Jesus, he bids us unbind this world from its death shroud and set it free. And the new law of God, written on our hearts calls us to unbind this resurrected world, to pray for it, to live in it justly, to love in it mercifully—and in so doing, God will truly be our God, and we will be a people fit for God.