“When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “’Take off the grave clothes and let him go.’” John 11:42-44
“Community is the gift that reminds us healing doesn’t have to be on our own. It fills the prescription of reminding us that we are not alone.” Rev. Sheila P Spencer
One of the amazing discoveries of scripture is that you can read the same passage over and over and still receive a new perspective. This recently happened to me when my Pastor preached the familiar story of Lazarus. Mary and Martha’s brother Lazarus became ill, and the message reached Jesus. He stayed where he was for two more days before going to Bethany. When he arrived, Lazarus was dead and his body was in a tomb for several days. Jesus asked them to roll away the stone. He spoke to God and then called Lazarus to come out and he did, still wrapped up with the strips of linen and cloth around his face.
It was the next part of the passage that resonated in a new way with me:
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
The community was called to participate in the completion of the miracle by unwrapping what was binding him. Lazarus was alive, yet still needed the community to take off the strips so that he could be completely free. Jesus brought the community into the healing process. There is healing in the community.
“Community is the gift that reminds us healing doesn’t have to be on our own. It fills the prescription of reminding us that we are not alone.” Sheila P Spencer (Me- smile)
Anne Lamott says, “If you’re lucky you find your way into a spiritual community and you start to find the great teachers of all the ages who said the same thing. There’s only love.“
This reminds me that the sense of support, connection and shared experiences within a community can significantly contribute to an individual’s healing process.
Think about the process of unwrapping Lazarus and taking off the grave clothes, it was intimate to carefully remove the linen strips wrapped around his body. They had to touch, connect and work together carefully so that he could be free. Jesus was the miracle worker, yet he knew the miracle of community and how we work together for each other’s healing.
Unwrap the healing by calling someone, send them a note or text, gift a cup of coffee, bake them something special, take a walk and much more.
There is gift in healing. Jesus performed the miracle of bringing Lazarus back to life, but he called on the community to complete the process by unwrapping what had him bound.
There is healing in the community … Consider the different ways in which community support can positively impact your healing journey.
Jesus has already performed a miracle, now we have to take off the grave clothes of our siblings and let them go and be set free.