Sunday, April 10, 2011

Lazarus

So, this morning at Common Table, we had a service on death, including some beautiful stories of folks passing peacefully beyond the veil and also including a technical description of the decomposition of the body... so detailed that I had to leave and go get some fresh air.

We are an intense and varied bunch.

The centerpiece behind all this meditation on death was the gospel lectionary reading today from John 11:1-44, where Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. There is a ton to be said about this passage and about the service, but it is late and I am tired. So I'll just let the poem say what it has to say.

Lazarus

I imagine that it was like
coming up fast from under water...
distorted light rushing towards you,
strange shapes, voices indistinct...

and then, suddenly, gasping for air,
pulling at the cloths on your face
with your bound hands,
confused, terrified, utterly lost.

And then, a voice you recognize,
a voice you love, a voice of someone
who loves you, calling clear:
"Come out!!"

You'd follow that voice anywhere.
But "out" of where? Flailing,
you fall off of the surface where they laid you,
and your eyes finally make out
the direction of the light.

"Come out!" You stagger towards the voice
on legs that ache strangely...
you move towards the light,
pulling, pulling at the cloths around your eyes,
but not as frightened now...

"Come out!!" Moving more quickly
you hear voices, feel people around you,
but that voice is what pulls you.
It's the only thing that makes sense.

And then what? Lazarus, then what?
When you reached Him, did you weep?
Did you suddenly understand?
Did you remember heaven?
Where were you those four days?

No one knows.

I only ever picture you bound
and struggling towards the light
and towards that voice...
patron saint of all who long for Him
on this side of the veil.

3 comments:

Ben Masters said...

I am so glad you write poetry. "Patron saint of all who long for him": wonder-ful.

P3T3RK3Y5 said...

wow Amy. beautiful.

Mike Croghan said...

Gorgeous, Amy. Thanks.