Pastor’s Corner – March 26, 2023

From Mount Olive What Do We See?

Ezekiel turns to the valley and sees a vision of dry bones coming to life by the breath of God, reminding those who were exiled and hopeless will one day return to dwell in their land. It’s a promise of liberation. Jesus in line with the prophetic tradition turns to Jerusalem enroute Bethany where his beloved Lazarus was buried for four days. Thirty-five years ago, I stood on the slopes of Mount Olive in West Bank Palestine where Bethany was once located. I was facing Jerusalem and recalled stories of Jesus in Bethany and the immediate events that would lead to his death on the cross. Intifada, Palestinian uprising that began a year before was still very raw in violence and resistance. The security was heavy and I was asked to show my papers as Israeli soldiers pulled up. I spent time that summer with a Palestinian family who shared their stories of displacement. I could feel the political tension in the air. Jesus’ ministry was definitely disruptive and we breathed the same tension and thirst for liberation. What’s the point of raising Lazarus from the dead? The Passover festival was just around the corner where oppressed people recall from memory God’s liberating acts in their history. Romans placed extra security to ensure control to subdue any rebellion. Thomas, Jesus’ disciple said, “Let us also go, that we may die with him!”  The gospel story before us, Fifth Sunday in Lent, cannot be understood without this dimension. The plot to kill Jesus thickens. Lazarus is alive. The divide between those who believe and those who do not widens. Is Jesus the Christ they’ve been waiting for? See you this Sunday and let us worship God as we ponder the story together. 

Pastor Dae