Jesus was Human, too

Did they look at him incredulously? Did they think him ridiculous? Did they call him less than he should be?

For those who are churchgoers, this weekend has one of those really famous stories coming up in the lectionary: Lazarus.

This is the Lazarus who is, in fact, Jesus’s best friend. He is the brother of Mary and Martha – yes, that Mary and Martha who are constantly bickering over the better way to follow Jesus. And it is at this house where Jesus feels at home in the midst of all of his wanderings throughout his ministry. He finds a place to rest among these three siblings. A family.

Then the day comes when he is out on one of his journeys and he receives word that his best friend is sick. Truly, he is dying. Jesus continues his work so that by the time he arrives, Lazarus has already been dead three days. And he weeps with his beloved friend’s sisters. For one of his family is gone.

Yes. Jesus cries. More than that, he ugly cries.

I wonder, if people thought him weak in that moment the way they look at some of us when we lose our composure. When our families need us and we, too, need to show our “soft underbelly.” Even if just for a moment.

Did they look at him incredulously? Did they think him ridiculous? Did they call him less than he should be?

One of those funny things about the story of Lazarus is that we often jump directly to that moment at the tomb where Jesus speaks and the mummy comes out. And the resurrection is essential. It both gives us faith and gives all the people looking for one a reason to kill him in just another week.

However, in doing so, we lose sight of the bigger thing that happens here: Jesus shows his very human side. And yes, he was human.

This is important not only for everyone, but especially for those of us in leadership because far too often so many (including us) forget that we are human, too.

We crack under pressure sometimes. We need some slack on occasion. We have families who need our attention, too.

Just as an example, I remember Christmas a few months ago, I ended up getting the flu heading into the big holiday and lost my voice because I sang at full steam with a high fever on Christmas Eve. Then I got pneumonia over Epiphany, which took a month to get over and my asthma is permanently worsened. And it took about two months for my singing voice to fully recover. All because I was keeping up with both our schedule at work and with being a single mom at home – and sometimes our bodies simply break.

So, my friends, particularly as we are heading into Holy Week in just about ten days, my heartfelt encouragement to all of my colleagues is to make sure we take time to care for ourselves. To breathe. To rest. To make space for the holy.

And my prayer for those who are walking with us in our ministries (our congregations) is to remember that we are here to walk with you and we need your grace as much as you need ours.

Artwork: “Unbind Me” by the Rev. Lauren Wright Pittman of A Sanctified Art, LLC

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