Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Adam and Eve: my reading

What do you think the Adam and Eve story is telling us.  This is my thinking.

Abstract representation of an Apple

I've always thought of it as a coming of age tale.  As children we are (hopefully) safe and closeted, fed and watered, loved and nurtured.  At some point though we have to start thinking for ourselves and being responsible for our own actions.  Making the decision to eat the apple was that point when we realise we can make our own way in the world.  And God set them free to go their own way, knowing that they would suffer because he could no longer protect them.  I've always seen Eve as courageous for taking the risk and striking out independently, that's the way to new opportunities.  But of course I was taught the story knowing that God was always with us, so I didn't have fear about being banished so much as released.

I would love to read what you think the Adam and Eve story is saying to you.

Decode Fear

Be careful to read
Only those you KNOW you trust
Decode the fear

Don't listen to lies
Of xenophobic black holes
Emergency dreams

Thought extinction
Saved by lighting shadows
Find truth edition

Check every fact
Protect precious sanity
Trust reality

Little Guy Book

Little Guy is on his way.

Final proof agreed.
Audio descriptions recorded.

Excited to get this journey of hope started.


To read the press release click here http://llmcalling.blogspot.com/p/little-guy.html

Monday, 27 April 2020

Gift of Time

Lonely conversations with
Your anti-self

Radio tuning
Listening for angels
Feelings without touch

Songbird brings joy
Yet notes can not hold me
Lost inside my home

Distance expanded
Is anyone listening?
Garden disco lights

Tulips face the sky
Violent fragments intertwine
Buttercups glisten

Dark souls emerge
Toadstools crossed by tiny feet
Garden party?

Judgement says
No Friday night party gathering
Danger zone

Vision shortened
As stars fall from my eyes
Life amputated

Go with the flow
Embrace this gift of time

Cells in constellation

Cells in constellation
Confused by unusual bug
Health under pressure from
Somberly moving thug
World lost in shadow
Future on the shelf
Plastic over faces
Carefully protecting ourselves
Together banish sadness
Games played safe at home
Eyes loving blue skies
Even when we cannot roam
Pubs no longer open
No staggering home late
Smiling through the chaos
Advising errant mates
Nurses are our heroes
Refusing to ever give in
Working night and day
To save our next of kin
Humanity pulling together
Most rising to the test
We will be forever grateful
For those who gave their best

Space with my own mind

Never before have
I appreciated space
Within my own mind

I have always feared
An impossible machine
Ready to emerge

Now I embrace
The wonders contained within
My head and heart

I've since improved this poem to another version.

Never before have
I appreciated space
Within my own mind

I have always feared
An impossible machine
Ready to emerge

Head adjusted
The wonders contained

I embrace my mind

Covid the Dragon

Today's dragon:
Covid. Terrifying all
Keeping people home

Who is our St George?
Scientists, Doctors, Nurses
Carers, Neighbours

St George the martyr
Would not give up his faith
Keep praying

What will shielding families do when lockdown is lifted??

It seems clear that the plans expect all those of us who are extremely vulnerable to keep shielding long term. But how does that work with families like mine where I need to shield but I can't expect my teenager to give up her life for a year or more. We've spoken to my GP and school and no one really knows what to we'll do.

Options we've discussed:

1. We all keep shielding for as long as that's needed and she can't go to school, be in any of her orchestras, mix with friends etc - no! That's just no way to live.

2. I shield separately in the house. But I need physical support from Mike which would actually mean Rachel would be isolating within her own home away from both her parents. That's no solution.

3. She goes to live with a friend or relative. She's absolutely clear that she won't do that. We discussed it at the start and she said she'd rather isolate with us.

Which leaves us with...
4. Once schools open she goes back to school and music etc etc but taking as many precautions as possible.

This week I had to hold it together when Rachel asked me if I thought she'd cope better long term if she stayed home for a few years and missed out on being a teenager whilst everyone else went back to normal, or if I died. She talked about the effects on her emotions and the effects on her plans for life.

She had clearly been spending A LOT of time thinking about it.

No more is she pondering whether she'll study music or psychology, now she's pondering if she can better live without school and music or a mum.

And how do I help her?
It doesn't matter how many times I tell her that if I catch it then I am a fighter, or that it won't be anyone's fault. She's 14 going on 44 and she knows the risks and the science.

I don't know how many thousands of families are having to go through these sorts of thought processes but I don't hear anyone on the daily briefings discussing it. I hope scientists somewhere are pondering it though.

What will our community look like?


None of us know
What is going to happen tomorrow
Next Week
Next Month

We know we'll be changed
We know some won't be with us
We know some will be shielding
Others celebrating

So I'm not planning
Just hoping and praying
One day at a time
In God I'm trusting

Safe in our Bubble

Safe in our bubble
Shielded by distance and care
Release date unknown
I was drawing circles and suddenly realised that all the overlapping is a good representation of all the places where covid19 can spread. So if we come into contact with even just one person on the edge of that crowd then we are potentially connected to all of them. This is why we are shielding.

But of course this wouldn't be possible without organisations and individuals who are helping us to stay safe at home. We are so thankful for all those who are helping us and allowing us to continue living as fully as possible from within our home.

What do you see?

What do you see
When you close your eyes
Darkness of nothing
Colours that mystify?
Do you rely on your lenses
To show you the truth
Does the mirror abstract
Who gives you the proof?

What do you hear
When you block out the noise
Trying covering your ears
No more distracting toys
Your internal voice?
Someone from the past?
A whirring or thumping?
Nothing that lasts?

What do you smell
To escape being pained
Do you enter a time
When happiness reigned?
Old books, really old
With their scent of the ages
All of those people
Who read through their pages

What taste evokes
Pleasure and pain?
What food do you return to
Again and again?
For me it was chocolate
That decadent beast
Now it's cheese
On which I would feast

How about touch
Essential connection
That's what I'm missing
In this isolation
I can't wait to hug
My friends and family
Just touching hands
Quite casually

Meditation on a tree

Take one tree
Doesn't need to be a big tree
As long as you can comfortably
Lie down underneath

Allow the wonder of nature
To relax you completely
It's time to do you duty
And breathe..... deeply

What can you sense
In amongst the tree?
Any birds making nests?
Caterpillars eating leaves?

At first it might seem empty
Nothing going on
Look a little deeper
You'll discover quite a throng

A pigeon taking flight
Disturbs the canopy
What's that taking a wander?
A massive bumblebee

Rain showers start
The tree becomes a roof
Droplets follow paths
Ancient to the roots

Every sense engaged
A day of many pleasures
Guided by the world's
Many varied creatures

As you pause for this time
Enjoying mother nature
Let your mind dream
Of a world a little better

Where time in the wild
Isn't a 'sometimes' treat
But something to enjoy
Every day of the week

When we emerge again
Let's fully be connected
To each other, the world
Hope and love projected

Church Accessibility: articles and more

Two weeks ago I wrote this article about the importance of thinking about being fully accessible as a church whether you are in a physical building or online.


I have since written a second article which was published in the Church Time at the start of May 2020.

If you are unable to access written text then I have recorded myself reading the article to ensure that it is fully accessible to everyone, whether they can read print or not.  Access the video here:

Overheard Tale

I overheard a tale
Told long ago
Of a magical creature
Is it true? I dunno

She started life
In a pale yellow egg
Safely cocooned
From head to leg

As she emerged
Cracked open their heart
Became their pet
Right from the start

As she grew
It became more clear
She required obsession
In dreams she'd appear

Upon her coat
Patterns ever changing
Stare long enough
Your soul started breaking

One break of day
The earth seemed to speak
Underneath her gaze
Dance became bleak

They blocked their ears
From the sound she made
Couldn't trust their eyes
Withdrew, dismayed

Their favourite pet
So delightful when new
Like a torn family photo
Caused pain anew

Those who knew them
Are still full of pity
They never got back
What was lost to their pretty

It's not rabbits

It's not rabbits we're pulling
From holes in the dark
It's those isolating
From every remark
Which fill them with fear
Of what will come next
Wondering if this
Is some cosmic test
Let's quell their anxiety
By showing them care
Uplift their spirits
That is my prayer

Lonely conversations in isolation

Isolation Lonely conversations with Your anti-self Radio tuning Listening for angels Feelings without touch Songbird brings joy Yet notes can not hold me Lost inside my home Distance expanded Is anyone listening? Garden disco lights Tulips face the sky Violet fragments intertwine Buttercups glisten Dark souls emerge Toadstools crossed by tiny feet Garden party? Judgement says No Friday night party gathering Danger zone Vision shortened As stars fall from my eyes Life amputated Go with the flow Embrace this gift of time Isolation

In my time alone

In my time alone Distanced from most I process emotions Care to hear my thoughts? They centre on people Who work on the frontline The earthly angels Who give their valuable time To care for the sick The weak and the vulnerable Put their lives on hold Amazing individuals They are nurses and doctors Cleaners and Carers Paramedics and Pharmacists Police and Firefighters Supermarket workers Delivery drivers Farmers and pickers And more besides Not famous, not named No capes do they wear Just normal scrubs With tied up hair The list is too long To do them all justice These earthly angels Are truly fantastic

People Hiding

People hiding; fear in their hearts, statistics in their minds making little sense. Animals emerge, silence is golden, gardens give gifts of sweet buds. Those on the street, eyes darting, contact avoiding, quickly crossing. Shops as biohazards, neighbours as terrorists; fight or flight pumping through all veins. Are we dreaming? When did movies hit so close to the mark? Reality is stark. Inside writing Historic recording Creative rhyming

Dreaming in Low Whispers

Whilst stuck at home Not allowed to roam I dream in low whispers About outside adventures Along gently rolling rivers Where tame forest creatures Come right up to me No fear to see I hold out my hand On back legs they stand They're scanning my face "Why are you in our place?" They don't wait for an answer No time to find my camera They lift off on a kite A truly amazing sight Through purple skies I can't believe my eyes Holding onto a spoon They head for the moon I squeeze my eyes tight What I see can't be right No one will believe Think I've take leave Of my senses What will be the consequences? If I tell it as fact I'll need to use more tact Make a poem or a story Seeped in allegory To share my joy To every girl and boy Who will allow imagination To enter my creation Bringing back to life What happened that night

Together Included

Frustration is something
I know lots about
For years not been able
To just rush out

Have had to plan
To check and scout
Could make me mad
Enough to shout

This is normal
For many like me
Who live with ill health
Or disability

We have had to accept
The disconnect
From a busy society
That values vitality

Excluded from places
Like museums and churches
I bet you're surprised
But we're often left outside

So we accept our lives
Inside and online
Just as deep and wide
Connections we find

Now the rest of the world
Is equally constricted
It's interesting to hear
The complaint "I'm restricted"

I know how you feel
I remember the pain
Of adjusting to life
Severely restrained

My hope is that after
This situation is over
You'll still remember
The joy of being together

That you will make changes
To exclusive arrangements
So we're no longer excluded
But together, included

Isolated in this place

Left or right It barely matters Going round and round The same small space High fiving family Anything to bring a smile Though eye rolls more common From teenagers face Her smile emerges At least once a day I long for those times They make my heart race Elbow to elbow We bump in the kitchen Try not to get in the way Or force change of pace It's easy to feel blue But no space for that either Find something to cheer Comedy on the case Indoor hobbies important To fill lonely times Though friends I can't even Begin to replace Outside is a mystery Red Kites soar up high When camera comes out Gone without trace Playful intentions Soon can go ugly Best to play nicely Isolated in this place

When anxiety builds

When anxiety builds
When I start to despair
I remember that God
Is here, everywhere
He stilled the storms
He calmed the seas
He felt our pain
He knows our needs
So when I fear
When I cry in pain
I turn to Jesus
I hope again

Easter Poems

I have been encouraged to bring together Poems I've written over the years for various times of the year, especially those which could be used by churches or individuals to help them in their worship.  These are the poems I have collected which relate to Easter.

Easter week
Jesus alive with us

No people pleaser
Jesus is resurrected
I'm lieing down

He doesn't lie
Alleluia Easter day
He is risen

We wait
In sadness at his death
On the cross

Set your alarm
Easter Day morn
Witness the dawn


Five more days till Easter
One more week of Lent
A week of holy thinking
Of memory and lament

It's OK if you deny
Peter did it thrice
Don't be afraid to follow
Jesus paid your price

It is done
He is gone
We are waiting
He will live on

Jesus suffering
It hurt him to save you
Courageous saviour

Turn to him
What do you have to lose
He loves you

Three days ago
He died on the cross
We did nothing
Just stood and watched
In those days
We've cried and wept
For what we've lost
And all our regrets

And now, today
On visiting the tomb
Mary found
An empty room
Jesus gone
Who took him away?
Mary left
She couldn't stay

As she left
A man she saw
Spoke to her
Told her all
"He is risen"
This she says
That man was Jesus
It was him she met

Jesus died
This we knew
But now he's back
For me and you
Today is joy
For one and all
Mankind is saved
For ever more

Today is the darkest day.

Today we remember Judas' betrayal.

Today we hear the crowds crying for Jesus' death, and we feel Pilate's weakness and fear.

Today we feel the weight of the cross, the sharpness of the crown of thorns and the pain of the nails.

Today we hear again the last hours of Jesus' life.

Today we remember with sorrow the crucifixion and death of Jesus.

Today we hear and feel Jesus giving his life for us.

Today, is heartbreaking.

Today, despite knowing the glorious happy ending, I shed tears of grief.

Today is the darkest day.

Brought down by the weight of her mistakes.  She almost buckles under the weight of the bag.  A bag full of criticism and anxiety, of sadness and stress.

She falls and she can't get up.

She is jeered at

          and spat at

                    and abandoned.

Yet she's offered help by a stranger, although she doesn't accept it.

Can't accept it.

It's the stations of the cross in all its sadness.

Eventually she reaches the top of the hill and she is done.

       It is done.

               She can do no more.

But, suddenly….  she's not alone.

There's someone there she knows

Someone she knows well
       and they talk together
                and it hits me
                         between the eyes

"It's God!"

And God is full of these platitudes and soundbites and I silently pray God would never do that.

She wouldn't would she?

But then God utters these words

"We all have our crosses to bear.
I'll always be here."

And I cry.

I weep.

I let go so much of my own sadness and stress and anxiety knowing that those words are so true.

But it didn't end there.


She comes back down the hill


     She meets her friends again


She tells them how to make the world a better place;

These poems have been included in a number of publications including

Logismos Easter 2020 https://www.lulu.com/en/gb/shop/logismos-collective/logismos-magazine-issue-1/paperback/product-124e8d77.html

Liturgy in Dangerous Times https://simonjcross.com/writing/dangerous-liturgy/

Daily reflection and prayers Friday 3 April.


Today Emma leads us in prayer for those in medical research, those caring for others in the hospitals and communities and for those who are lonely or anxious.

Healing God,
You knit each of us together in our mother’s womb, thank you for caring for each of us individually every day.

You are in every thought and action, in every scientific discovery and healing hand.
Thank you for all those who work in medical research, especially those searching for tests and cures for covid 19.  Be with them, inspire and sustain them in their work.

Thank you for the doctors, nurses and all those who care for others in the NHS and care system.  Keep them energised, uplifted and safe from harm in their essential work.

Thank you to all those who are in our communities ensuring essential services continue.

Thank you for the community spirit which has strengthened and grown as we realise the importance of love of our neighbours.

Give us energy, guide us to those in need and give us thankfulness in every blessing.

Loving God
Be with all those who are hurting, lonely, frightened or anxious.
Bring them peace and reassurance in every moment.

Everything that is good comes from you.

Prayer and Worship from Home during the Pandemic

With the unfolding Coronavirus situation we know that many of us will be self-isolating for our own health reasons or because we are displaying symptoms. We've also been instructed not to gather physically to worship as of 17th March 2020 and expect this to be for at least a few months.

This will be a hard time for those of us who are used to praying and worshipping together; but it's also a time to remember that we are a church of people, not of buildings, and we can spend time with God no matter where we are.

The good news is that we live in an online world and so we are able to gather virtually through emails, phone calls, what's app groups, video calls, on our Facebook group, on Twitter and Instagram and, from today, through our You Tube channel where we will be sharing services.  The links to all these are listed at the end of this document.

The digital world also provides us with access to a host of resources for Prayer and Bible Reading which we have gathered here to bless you in the weeks ahead.  As you will see, there are lots to choose from, in different styles and formats.  We are sure you will find something that feels familiar, but why not try something a bit different as well, you never know what you might find and enjoy. 

Daily Prayer and Bible Reading

In times of change, routine can be helpful to keep a sense of normality; we are sure that finding time for Prayer and Bible Reading in your daily routine will be a blessing.  We have created a simplified version of morning prayer with the Psalm and New Testament reading, this is available in print on request, by email and through social media.

There are many organisations that offer Bible Readings with commentary online, for example:

The Church of England prayer of the day - on social media or online and with an audio option so you can listen. https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/join-us-service-daily-prayer

Bible in One Year - online or by email and also with an audio option.  https://www.bibleinoneyear.org/

Scripture Union - online or by email. https://content.scriptureunion.org.uk/bible-reading-guides

Lectio365 from 24/7 prayer – free app based on Lectio Divina on both apple and android

Daily Prayer app - free app on both apple and android from Aimer media

Prayer Mate app - free app on both apple and android

On social media there are additional sources of prayer including:

Disability and Jesus on Twitter and Facebook. http://disabilityandjesus.org.uk/

London Internet church at St Stephen’s, Walbrook on Facebook and Twitter stream morning and evening prayer each day. They also offer options like light a candle and say a prayer online.



There are a host of Christian podcasts online and it is very much personal taste which you might prefer but here are some I have enjoyed

Kate Bowler
"Life isn’t always bright and shiny, as Kate Bowler knows."
Kate is a young mother, writer and professor who, at age 35, was suddenly diagnosed with Stage IV cancer.  In warm, insightful, often funny conversations, Kate talks with people about what they’ve learned in dark times.

Sanctuary Mental health
‘Can mental health challenges and faith co-exist?
Join Sarah Kift, a member of the Sanctuary Mental Health Ministries team, as she interviews theologians, writers, and leaders as well as people who share their lived experiences with mental health challenges’

The Ten Minute Bible Hour
Working through the bible, currently in Matthew… https://www.thetmbh.com/

Nomad Podcasts
Stumbling through the post- Christendom wilderness, looking for signs of hope.  This might well appeal to you if you enjoy our going deeper sessions. https://www.nomadpodcast.co.uk/

Radio / TV

The Church of England is present on radio with the Sunday service broadcast at 10am each week on BBC Radio 4 https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qnds

There are also various Christian Radio and TV channels including Premier Radio, TBN, God TV etc


If you use a streaming account such as Spotify or Amazon Music then you could make some worship playlists - you could even share them with friends or with us on our social media channels.

We are sharing hymns of various types on our YouTube channel and would be happy to hear of anything you would like us to share.

Family Resources

There are rafts of Bible Colouring Pages on Pinterest, Bible Apps of all sorts for kids and lots of Bible YouTube provisions.

Here are some resources:
GodVenture https://godventure.co.uk/

Faith in Homes https://m.facebook.com/faithinhomes/

Going for Growth http://www.going4growth.com/home

DLTK Bible  http://www.dltk-bible.com/%5C/cv/index.htm

Children's Bible http://www.childrensnursery.org.uk/childs-bible/childrens-bible.html

Adventure Bible https://www.adventurebible.com/

Ministry to Children https://www.google.com/amp/s/ministry-to-children.com/lessons/amp/

Bible App for Kids https://bibleappforkids.com/

The Youth Alpha Course is available online along with many other resources for teenagers, they will no doubt be able to teach you what they enjoy. https://www.alpha.org/youth/

We'll be updating this but please share any which you and your family enjoy on our Facebook group.

Non digital

Obviously not everyone is online or has a smart phone so we are providing hard copies of resources to people we know including morning prayer.

St Nicolas on Social Media

Church page https://www.facebook.com/earleystnics/
Church group https://www.facebook.com/groups/129059500493030/

PPP page https://www.facebook.com/pppmessy/
PPP group https://www.facebook.com/groups/259032547464949/

Noah's ark page https://www.facebook.com/NoahsArkStNics/
Noah's ark group https://www.facebook.com/groups/148285825263653/

Twitter @Earley_StNics 

Instagram @stnicolasearley

You tube https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCzCk9R6uw2oCkxq8f9ljAzw

Mothering Sunday 2020 Sermon Online

May I speak in the name of the father, of the son and of the holy spirit. Amen.

The readings for Mothering Sunday are stories of the love of mothers, the joys and pain of motherhood, and most importantly the ways in which the love of God is shown through the love of those who care for children.

First today we heard the story of Moses in Exodus 2.1-10.  We have heard this story many times, Moses and the basket on the river Nile; but it can be easy to miss the themes of oppression, sacrifice and a mother’s love despite sadness as she has to let him float on the river to keep him safe. I wonder how this passage speaks to you.  For me it recalls the reality of refugee families who travel across continents to find safety, often becoming separated from each other. 

Our second reading today was from Paul's letter to the Colossians 3.12-17.  This passage sets out the qualities that help to encourage people within our families, church and community. 

This is especially relevant
on Mothering Sunday as we think about our own families and the ways in which the love and actions of others can influence and help us.

There are seven qualities in our Colossians reading.

1. Wanting to help others (Compassion)
2. Being friendly and generous (Kindness)
3. Thinking about others more than ourselves (Humility)
4. Wanting to learn rather than  argue (Meekness)
5. Agreeing together on decisions (Harmony)
6. Being able to wait for things (Patience)
7. Love

If we had been gathered today I would have asked you some questions about these qualities and I'm sure I would have received some fabulous responses.  Instead I will pose the questions now and invite you to answer them as comments on one of our social media platforms.

■ Which of these words do you think you are good at?
■ Which of these words do you find hard to show?
■ What might ‘clothe yourself’ in these words mean?
■ Who in your family shows one or more of these qualities?
■ How do these qualities help your community?

Our third reading today takes us to the cross in the Gospel of John.  John 19.25-27

Jesus is looking at Mary and John and encourages Mary and John to care for each other.  This is a lesson for us all in how the love of mothers and children can be expressed in other relationships: Between a grandparent and child, a godmother and godchild, a foster parent and child, a mentor and apprentice.

The other way this is an important relationship is between the church and the children of God - you and me.  The mother church is the way God loves us.

Let's go back to the cross, to Jesus speaking to John and Mary.

“Jesus saw his mother and the disciple he loved standing there; so he said to his mother, ‘He is your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘She is your mother.’ From that time the disciple took her to live in his home.”

Jesus forms a new family at the foot of the cross; a new community between a boy and a woman - the church.

In the same way we are a community in Earley, a family of St Nicolas, relatives through our love of God and each other.

Mary and John comforted and helped each other in their sadness; they encouraged and strengthened each other in hard times; and they cared and shared lives together in love.


What better words can there be to define church, to define family.

So, as we worship together on this Mothering Sunday, we thank God for those who have mothered us.  And we give thanks to God for this church community where we find comfort, encouragement, love and hospitality.

The Raising of Lazarus: Story Sermon

Instead of reading the gospel and then sharing my thoughts, today I'm going to read from the gospel of John and reflect as we go.  I will upload the questions onto our social media channels after the service so you can reflect on them some more; and please do share any thoughts or questions that are raised.

Jesus Raised Lazarus from the Dead (John 11)

Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. 3 So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” 4 But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” -John 11:1-4

I wonder …
What will happen next.
Is Jesus going to heal Lazarus?
What might it mean that an illness is for God’s glory?

Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. 7 Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” 8 The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?” 9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” 11 After saying these things, he said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.” 12 The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. 14 Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, 15 and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16 So Thomas, called the Twin,] said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
-John 11:5-16

This is a tricky passage to swallow.
Couldn’t Jesus have healed His friend?
Why would He let Lazarus die?
It seems like He is taking this somewhat casually… why didn’t He go right away when He found out His friend was sick?

We might think God is being silent, but really He has something better planned.

Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles] off, 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. 20 So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.[] Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.” -John 11:17-27

Pay close attention to the responses of Martha and Mary.
They seem frustrated, and unsure of why Jesus didn’t come right away to heal their brother.
At the same time, though, they still trust Him.
They still believe in His promises, even if they don’t know what will happen.

When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29 And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32 Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved] in his spirit and greatly troubled. 34 And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept. 36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?” Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it.

39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” 43 When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” 44 The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” -John 11:28-44

There are several significant things that happen here.
We see that Jesus is “deeply moved.” He loved Lazarus, and loved Martha and Mary. He wept, genuinely crying and grieving for His friend. We can know that Jesus loves us, too, and feels sad with us when we are sad.
But Jesus does something else…He goes to the tomb, calls to Lazarus, and brings him back to life! He had clearly died and been buried, but through Christ he returned to life.

How might this be something that would bring God’s glory?

Of course this is also linking to Jesus' own death and resurrection.

In the case of Lazarus or Jesus, pain and hardship, and even death, took place, but ultimately restoration came, too.
What does this say about our lives?

Things might be challenging, but one day God is going to bring all things together and make a whole new world for us.

That is a promise we can believe and take to heart.

When we believe and trust God, we can be assured of eventual blessing.

Life on Earth is still hard.
It’s a broken, sinful, messed-up world.
But God is in control!

Let's pray
Father God help us to trust you even when we don't understand your ways.  We thank you for your endless presence with us, help us to remember as are never on our own.