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Imagining the Lectionary: raising of Lazarus (Lent 5A)

Reflection accompanying images “Raising of Lazarus”, and faux antique postcard series:
Entombed in a story of death and despair”, “Facing the worst with Jesus”, “Jesus opens up a new dimension
and “The presence of Jesus brings life

The story of the raising of Lazarus and Ezekiel's prophetic vision of the valley of dry bones are shaped and informed by time-tested faith in God. Such moments of Resurrection, the raising of life and hope from chaos and despair, are distinctive instances of the creative activity of God operating within the imagination and reality of what it is to be human. What we come to in these texts is the power of the ultimate in the ordinary and the presence of the eternal in the here and now. They are vital paradigm shifting and game changing moments in the history of faith expectation.  The pre-eminent example of this is of course the Resurrection of Jesus himself.

In each of these core texts the narrative essentially moves in stages from an initial state of being entombed in a story of death and despair, to facing the very worst with God, followed by a new dimension of hope opening up with God, with finally the presence of God bringing forth life again. In so doing these texts set the paradigmatic shape and intensity for our faith expectation. God is in the business of calling forth life where we see none in prospect. It is this normative understanding of the nature of God which fuels our confidence as we follow Jesus. We expect God's love to be always calling light and life out of situations of darkness and death.

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