Pondering for Saturday, February 19, 2022

Daily Office Readings for Saturday of the Sixth Week of Epiphany: Year 2

Morning, Psalm 107:33 to 43, 108:1-6(7-13); Evening,  Psalm 33;

Genesis 35:1 to 20; 1 John 3:11 to 18; John 11:1 to 16:

“Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” Thomas, who was called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”’  (John 11: 13 – 16)

Finally, our Lord Jesus had to just come out and say it, “Lazarus is dead.”  The disciples were looking for any reason they could find to not go into Judea, an area they considered dangerous. Jesus however would not let fear determine his footsteps. And neither should we. Moreover, his friend Lazarus needed him. We too should not look for, or accept, any excuse as a way to avoid doing what is right.

Thomas shows his dedication to our Lord Jesus. “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”  Thomas too often gets a less than honorable reputation.  He is called “Doubting Thomas.”  But there is no doubt about his loyalty to our Lord Jesus.   We tend to label people by the one perceived negative thing they do.  But here Thomas calls on his fellow disciples to stay the course.  Jesus is going in the way he came to go. When things do go bad for our Lord Jesus we will see that Thomas will not be behind a locked door in fear with the other ten disciples.  It will be a week later that he hears of our Lord Jesus rising from the grave.  Thomas is a fearless Christian as we all should be. Thomas is out in the midst of people going on with his life.

Loyalty to friends is demonstrated here as Jesus goes to raise Lazarus from the dead and Thomas is standing by Jesus even onto their possible deaths.  Friends are often our “chosen” family.  We are born to some, and we choose some.  My dad used to say to me that I am the company I keep.  He probably heard it from somewhere else but it rings so true.  Just as we need our friends when we are in trouble, so too, our friends need us when they are in trouble.  Friendship, like family, is priceless. Lazarus, as far as we know, was not a disciple. He was a friend of Jesus and Jesus did not abandon him even though he was dead four days.

As I write this the country of Ukraine is poised for an eminent Russian attack. I pray that diplomacy prevails.  But if it doesn’t, should we abandon Ukraine, or be with them? Ukraine is not a member of NATO, but is a friend of the U.S. Where is the courage and faithfulness of Thomas and our Lord Jesus in you?

Today I conduct a memorial service for a very dear friend of mine: Rest in Peace Mike.

As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John

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