John 11

Come out

         Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”
                           —John 11.43

Come out, you who have been entombed
in silence, in fear, in condemnation,
come out!
Come out to the one who loves you.
You who are afraid for your life,
who are afraid of your life,
you who are ashamed,
you who have been bound,
come out into your own life!
You who have been told you're unworthy,
you who are afraid of failing,
come out into your whole life.
You who are wounded and grieving,
who are hopeless or depressed,
you who wonder if you'll ever live deeply,
come out into life's fullness.
You who are well defended in your fortresses,
in armor, in costumes, come out.
Gays and abuse victims, transgender and shy,
gifted and doubtful, queer and other,
you can come out.
Come out of your closets, out of hiding,
out of exile, out of the wilderness.
You have a place, and the tomb is not it.
The One Who Weeps for You
calls to you.
You are wanted. You are mourned.
Come out.
And you who have rolled the great stones
over other people's lives,
roll them back. Stand aside.
Never mind the stench.
Call to them. Open your arms.
Unbind them.
Let them go.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light


          Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live,
          and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.

                           —John 11.25-26

Death, we are certain,
is final, a wall.
But Jesus says death
is not final at all:
not a wall but a curtain,
a hallway, a door,
a passage to something
uncertain but More.
Death is a darkness
and death is a dawn,
a deep letting go,
and a bright moving on.
The door is unlocked;
if you push it will give.
First you die, Jesus says,
first you die, then you live.
Help me, God, by your grace,
every moment, each breath
in and out, to receive
the new birth we call death,
like Lazarus, swaddled,
and just coming to,
awake from the birth canal,
risen and new.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

Love is like this

         Though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus,
               after having heard that Lazarus was ill,
              he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. ...
         Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here,
              my brother would not have died. ...
         Some said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man
                have kept this man from dying?” ...
         Jesus wept.

                           —John 11.5, 21, 37, 35

Jesus hears the news, silent,
and stands by the window.
He feels the urge rise in him,
the wave of entitlement.
He remembers the desert,
the lure of magical powers,
the world in his hands,
the longing to be able to fall without hurt.
He feels the hunger to be exempt
from sorrow, from powerlessness, from death.
Which is to be exempt from life.
He would not choose that,
for himself or his beloved.

Only in the deepest love does he release his friend
from his own desires,
into the fragile craft that is life.
Love is like this, and worse:
the surrender, the pain, the hands pierced and empty.
He sits, for two days.
He enters the tomb
of his own broken heart.

And on the third day he rises.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light