The Truth and The Life


The Raising of Lazarus by Jean-Baptiste Jouvenet, 1706

Today’s readings:
Psalms 119:73-80; 145, Jeremiah 11:18-20; 12:1-16 (17), Philippians 3:1-14, John 12:9-19

Poor Lazarus.

One might think being brought back from the dead by Jesus would set a person upon a joyous path, but the consequences were not all good. As Jesus’s friend, surely Lazarus must have felt conflicted that the miracle performed on him was the one that finally gave the Pharisees resolve to carry out their murderous intent. Furthermore, though his eventual fate is unknown, Lazarus also became a target of their evil designs; as long as he lived (again), he was a testament to Jesus’s true divinity, so they plotted to kill him, too.

People in power, especially when their grip on that power is tenuous, would often rather destroy the truth than let it change things. Ironically, that very inclination ultimately contributes to the demise of their influence. Sometimes it’s not even power that makes us hate truth, but fear – fear that we might be wrong. We fear that if we tug out one thread of our belief system, the whole might unravel. But God is bigger than a belief system.

The church condemned Galileo for promoting the truth of heliocentrism, yet God survived our travels to space. The church took evolution to court and despite the overwhelming evidence of the fossil record, God survived. The church as expressed in all denominations has been involved in enough cover-ups, scandals, and hypocrisies that it’s a miracle anyone darkens her doors, yet God survives.

When people like Martin Luther King, Oscar Romero, or Berta Cáceres speak truth to the powerful, the fearful, or both … truth is assassinated, yet God survives.

God will outlast our beliefs, doctrines, and denials. This isn’t to say we can’t learn or know the truth, but that those who insist only they do – and who would force us to agree – are showing the weakness of their position. Truth-telling may require persistence, but it does not require force.

Christ himself does not force us to believe, but being his friend may put us in precarious circumstances. Whether being a friend to the truth means becoming a target or facing change, let’s remember that because Christ survives, we will too.

Comfort: God endures.

Challenge: Read about the life, work, and death of Berta Cáceres.

Prayer: I welcome your Truth, O Lord, whatever it may be. Amen.

Discussion: What truth have you discovered that has changed your life?

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