Asia and Lazarus

It’ been very hard to watch the news lately. Last night, in my hotel room, I surfed the channels and would happen upon the news station….and I just passed right on by, not wanting to be confronted with what’s going on half way around the world. It’s just too heartbreaking to face.

This disaster in Asia has been very difficult for us all to wrap our heads around. We read John Piper’s reasoning as to why God caused this tragedy. We see many religious “leaders” on CNN or Fox news talking about the tsunami as a revenge acted upon people who don’t practice a certain faith in a higher power. To me it seems like we are all ants arguing about the loud noise that a jet liner makes as it passes overhead. We really have no clue how it all ties together.

The other day I was having a conversation with my father in law whom I respect a great deal. We were just talking about the devastation, the horror of what has happened in Asia. We both aired our frustrations about how many on t.v. have misrepresented who God is in the context of this tragedy. My father-in-law had just presided over a funeral the other day and at that funeral he referenced the story of Lazarus. He talked to me about how It says in John that Jesus “wept” for the death of Lazarus. There were two seperate people who approached Jesus upon his arrival to Judea and they say “If only you were here, Lazarus would not have died.” It’s like they are giving Jesus a guilt trip for not being there. The thing that strikes me is that Jesus actually was heart broken by the death of his friend Lazarus, even though in just a short time, he would raise Lazarus from the dead. I can’t help but wonder why Jesus would actually be moved to tears when he knew he would soon be alive again. Maybe Jesus didn’t know. Maybe the act of raising Lazarus from the dead wasn’t something Jesus knew he would do before he actually did it. It says that Jesus wept after he witnessed the sadness of mary and martha. Maybe he was just moved not by his own sadness but the sadness of others.

Needless to say, I’m not a theological expert. I play the drums for a living and I am not going pretend to understand all of this (Caveman Lawyer). But for some reason, the story of Lazarus gave me an insight to how God may be interacting with us in our times of struggle and tragedy. He cares. He hurts when we hurt. And now that we, the church, are the body of Christ in this world, maybe he wants us to act….much like Christ did with Lazarus. I’m not saying we start raising those we have lost from the dead, but I believe we are to exaust ourselves in contribution to the healing and rebuilding process. I pray that in 6 months from now, when something else takes up the space of our twenty-four hour news channels, we are still commited to the healing and rebuilding process of not only this disaster, but all other daily tragedies our neighbors on this earth experience. sorry if this post doesn’t make sense. i’m kind of drunk and just got done playing a show. peace.


17 thoughts on “Asia and Lazarus

  1. i think you nailed it.
    it makes me so mad when people put words in God’s mouth.
    i hadn’t really thought about God grieving with us, don’t discount your observations.

  2. ” sorry if this post doesn’t make sense. i’m kind of drunk and just got done playing a show. peace.”

    that might be the least sober statement you made in the whole thing

  3. Beautiful words, Zach. As to your comment that you are not a theological expert – we are all. We all get to study God every day and offer analysis, which you have done well. Thank you.

  4. im gonna quote RAZAL’s commentary here (Rabbi Zach L.):
    “i often have my best thoughts after my second glass of wine.” 9-2004

    ache onto compassion

  5. i think it was a mixture of red zinfandel and jamaican beer. always remember……liquor before beer, you’re in the clear. i think that’s in leviticus somewhere.

  6. interesting. as a Calvinist, i hesitate to accept any statement that consists of “maybe Jesus didn’t know”. I just don’t know if that’s possible. however, the hypostatic union is something that can only be so analyzed… I don’t think God weeps in the same way we do. We are created in his image, but i don’t think we necessarily reflect it in every aspect of our being. And to think that he weeps when we weep would actually reverse that statement into Him being in our image, in a very subtle way. the difference between a man’s emotions and the God anthropmorphically relates is touchy. in any case, certainly i share in that sense that we are a strangely preoccupied nation. that being said, i count my blessings that i can be so preoccupied. our church is collecting a seperate contribution for them.

  7. i am not a calvanist. i am an “i-could-never-presume-to-know-ist”. and i’m also not a librarian so i’m hopefull that your post has given some other than myself a deeper understanding. but i would say that we are indeed made in the image of God and if we do not reflect that image, it just means we are not living in the fullness of our true being.

    p.s. the words hypostatic and anthropmorphically have just given me an overdue haircut.

  8. certainly. moments of fullness and moments of clarity or obedience are different, though. “moments of fullness” is kind of a flowery undefined term to begin with much less debate over (and debate isnt a four letter word so don’t take that negatively) as we may have different ideas of fullness. What is the Biblical definition in reference to Him and us? thats where we should start. we don’t disagree (yet) as im not sure you understand what i’m saying, entirely. maybe you do. but for the sake of clarity you said it, “the image He created you to be”. He didn’t create you to be perfect yet you were perfectly created…yet sinful in nature. so there is a complexity and different contexts of “perfection” though not different in definition. We were created to acknowledge and worship his perfection. again, no disagreement there. my point was that you were created in his image, not in His perfection. am i being clearer? Scripture would testify that “even man’s good deeds are like filthy rags”… so of course you are capable of good works. also you mentioned that you “feel” there are moments. Tim and i get into this alllllllll the time. Feelings are only as valid as they are in line with scripture. for example, if i or anyone for that matter “feel” like i’m saved, am i? can i just abandon repentance all together cause i feel good about it? or for that matter, if i am a christian and constantly feel like i’m NOT saved, how much more damaging is that if scripture attests otherwise? Thats a whole other blog entry, but my point being in regards to how we feel in comparison to what we know. but don’t get me wrong, warm fuzzies are great.. but not the basis of our understanding of scripture or faith (hopefully). sorry… im really into this… any faith without works would be questionable.. Scripture also testifies that man does not reach his full glory til Heaven. so…. I’m not trying to sling opionions. Other that its my opinion that scripture testifies to this. put it this way: even if you reached an earthly, moment of “fullness” and God is ALWAYS in His, the two are obviously not comparable, ya know? therefore your fullness is still all but perfect. but i’ll end with this: yes, i think we can experience times when we are being obedient and bless those around us and be in God’s favor. Geez i wish i was that intellectual when i was drunk. i just end up kissing people i shouldn’t be.

  9. haha…. alright, man. well, like you said, it wasn’t the point of your post. but it WAS fun. hope you at least understood me. drink up…(burp).

  10. honestly, i really don’t connect with what you’re getting at. just a difference of opinion and that’s fine with me. besides, what we are discussing here is so NOT what the point of my original post was. for me debating calvanism is like undergoing chemotherapy. my hair starts falling out and i can’t get up off the couch. no hard feelings, you’re not the first calvanist that i’ve ended up scratching my head at, so it’s all good. what do i know? i am just a caveman lawyer.

  11. what i meant was we being in his image does not necessitate that He created in ours… its a one way deal. “not living in the fullness of our true being”. thats the case everyday til we die, so thats a non-point. fullness is only accomplished at the perfect keeping of the Law, so…. good luck with that, haha. Presumption only takes place when you have an educated view. i think we can know with little if any doubt (depending on the issue of course). unless you’re Van Til, which i’m not. haha… hypostatic union is the term used to describe that Jesus was fully man and fully God. Anthropomophic means how God relates to man by describing himself in ways we can relate. try describing the Trinity with all those horrid and elementary analogies we learned in sunday school tht fall short (the orange, the apple, the banana… why fruit, anyway??) and you’ll see why He does that.

  12. i guess we can agree to disagree, respectfully of course. i feel that there are moments in my life where i can reflect the image of God, the image in which God truly created me to be . when i send a check to help the relief effort in Asia, at that moment i am living life to the fullest. if i were to quit my job, take all my money, move to sri lanka and start getting dirty….in those moments when i am following Jesus and helping other while i go against the conventional wisdom of this world i am reflecting the image of God. i don’t feel that i have to wait until i die. of course, i am not perfect and there are constant moments of falling short. but i thank God that he has given me the opportunity to enter into His kingdom not just when i die, but now while i am a part of his body of believers. the Lord’s prayer tells me i don’t have to wait till i die. i can experience the fullness of who God made me right now.

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