The raising of Lazarus is the last great sign in chapter 11 of John’s gospel that started with the keynote sign of “turning water into wine” This final sign has Jesus bringing a dead man back to life quite literally.
This story doesn’t appear in any of the other gospels – a strange thing as John’s gospel was the last to be written but the historicity of it is irrelevant.
What does john mean to say to us through this story?
The answer to that is that God and his love is the author of life and with God not even death can overcome true life.
Life comes out of death in a literal way after we die but even more than that, God can transform your life in the here and now while we are very much alive.
In John’s gospel “eternal life” is NOW. It is a quality of life that is rooted in Love and Connectedness.
Eternal life is not simply something waiting for us on the other side, eternal life can be enjoyed NOW.
Eternal life means that our lives are not bound by death but that our lives are lived against an infinite horizon.
There is no situation, or a person, or an organisation, or a church, is never so moribund that its life cannot be transformed. The water of anything can be transformed into rich wine.
This is the source of Christian Hope.
If you want a subject for your prayers I’d suggest that as a church we commit to praying that the hearts of people in our village may be touched and turned by the Spirit of God to seek Him. That prayer doesn’t exclude ourselves of course. Let us pray that spiritually they may be brought to life by God’s spirit, not just to fill the church or to make me happy but to fulfil our role as Christians and to expand our role and ability to be the salt in our community.
We often say we’d like this church to grow don’t we? Well let’s pray for that to happen.
Let us pray: Almighty God our heavenly Father, we turn to you and pray with all our heart and soul that the hearts of many, starting with ourselves are turned towards you. We pray for our spiritual health and vitality, that we may be strengthened, that we may flourish as salt and light in this village. Amen.
Let us not leave this as a one off prayer either. I invite all of us to make a prayer for growth and renewal a regular part of all our personal prayers.