Bible Study: Lamenting Death
Scripture: John 11:28-37
28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The
Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she
got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but
was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had
been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and
went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.
32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at
his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her
also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you
laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
35 Jesus wept. 36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man
have kept this man from dying?”
It is probable that Lazarus’s family and friends had been gathering since the day
Lazarus died. The story of Jairus’s daughter is similar. The child was reported
dead before Jesus responds.
Jesus begins to weep. Why do you think Jesus would mourn and lament
something he could change? Jesus was fully human and fully divine. This is a
situation where he shows how fully human he is. [Jesus fully understands your
grief and our mourning.]the death of a person is a usual occasion for weeping, in
scripture and in life. Jesus said “Greatly honored are those who mourn” (Matt.
We are sad when a loved one is gone from our lives. That’s mourning. Is it the
same as lamenting? Both have sorrow, suffering and grief in common but the
common elements of lament are: God is addressed, the grievance is described,
a statement of faith in God is made, something is asked (demanded ?) of God -
there is a call for God to act, an assurance of being heard is made. Mourners
don’t ask for God to act and change the situation. Lamenters do. Eva Pickovà
wrote a poem of lament while in the prison camp of Terezin. it proclaims a will to
live and work and have a better world.
No, no, my god, we want to live!
Not watch our numbers melt away.
We want to have a better world,
We want to work - we must not die!
We are to trust in the God of hope: 1 Corinthians 15:54b-55
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
The central message of our faith is:
With his resurrection, Christ breaks death’s hold on humanity. When we come together on Easter we celebrate joyfully. We should celebrate Easter every Sunday,
Christ is risen! Christ is risen, indeed!
This joy is an undercurrent in our lives, even and maybe especially in times of sorrow. When our brothers and sisters are in times of tears, it is our privilege to remember and speak the promise of resurrection for them.
God of life, you have sone for us what we could
not do for ourselves. You have brought freedom to us when
we were captive to death. May we choose to live, forgiven and
freed by you through Jesus Christ. Amen
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We are a small, rural Presbyterian church in southwestern Pennsylvania.