Imagine, if you will, Jesus loudly saying, “Lazarus, come out” and hearing a voice from within the tomb softly saying, “No! I don’t think so.” The crowd along with Jesus would have been astounded! Why on earth would a dead man offered a chance to come back to life not jump at the opportunity? I can picture Jesus’ saying: “What? Are you crazy?” and Lazarus responding: “I’ve been in here for 4 days already, and I’m getting used to it.
I don’t think I could live out there with all its problems: Martha complaining about Mary and telling her to stop sitting around and help her clean, cook, and serve and her nagging me to pick after myself and bring the dishes to the sink. I prefer the peace and quiet here. Nobody from the town bothers me asking for favors. No one is inviting himself and his friends to my house eating and drinking my food and wine. No, I much prefer staying here. Give a TV, cable, and a comfortable recliner and it would be an ideal man cave.”
Now that didn’t happen, but how many times when Jesus calls you and me to come out, do we refuse to leave the tombs which we have created for ourselves or that others have put us in. We kind of get used to them, don’t we. It becomes more and more comfortable, easier, and less scary than breaking out of them.
What tombs does Jesus shout to us to come out of?
- Come out from sin and darkness to holiness, wholeness and light;
- Come out from self-centeredness to consideration of others;
- Come out from hopelessness to trust in God’s love;
- Come out from pride and self-importance to stand humbly before God;
- Come out from intentional blindness to injustice to work for equity;
- Come out from under material and inconsequential pursuits that dull the spiritual quest for God;
- Come out from worry to live by faith;
- Come out from the pigeon others have put you in, e.g., social butterfly, standoffish. Introvert, extrovert, dumb jock, four eyes, nerd, etc., to live the life you were created to live;
- Come out, come out, from wherever you are and come home to the God who bestows life, love, and mercy.
 Based on an idea from Jim Auer, Preaching to Youth, Celebration, April 2, 2017.
5th Sunday of Lent, A17