When I first read this John passage as the worship committee prepared for Lent, I was struck by how much love is displayed. Martha and Mary are deeply grieved by their brother Lazarus’ death, there are many hanging around consoling Mary and feeling moved themselves; and it says that Jesus began to weep! Seems like “genuine love” might be a good characteristic of Radical Hospitality to explore - that love that moves us to tears when we feel so inextricably connected to someone.
BUT, if you read what’s going on before this passage, when Jesus is told that Lazarus is ill, he doesn’t go right away – he waits two days before heading to Lazarus. He tells people around him that illness does not lead to death but to God’s glory. Huh? What kind of love is this?
BUT, in the passage we’ll hear Sunday we read that Jesus was greatly disturbed in spirit, was deeply moved, and that he began to weep.
It got me thinking about the two worlds Christians live in – being in the world but not of the world. We have deep feelings for our loved ones, for folks who suffer, for folks who inspire us. This is genuine love. And, we have deep feelings for God, how God always seems to keep loving us and never goes away. This is genuine love.
Both operate in us at the same time; both are connected and require our attention in different ways. Perhaps our call in this upcoming Lenten week is to clear away what’s preventing us from experiencing, and tending to, both kinds of genuine love.