"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25

"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25
Midnight Blue (1963): Jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell featuring Stanley Turrentine on tenor saxophone, Major Holley on double bass, Bill English on drums and Ray Barretto on conga. Midnight Blue is one of Burrell’s best-known works for Blue Note Records. In 2005, NPR included the album in its "Basic Jazz Library", describing it as "one of the great jazzy blues records".

He said, She said...

"You are not designed for everyone to like you - Wise Man Phil

FRAGILE: Sting, Yo Yo Ma, Dominic Miller & Chris Botti

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Lazarus Heart

Weep: to express grief, sorrow, or any overpowering emotion by shedding tears; shed tears; cry: to weep for joy; to weep with rage.

"A man named Lazarus was sick. He lived in Bethany with his sisters, Mary and Martha. This the Mary who poured the expensive perfume on the Lord's feet and wiped them with her hair. Her brother, Lazarus, was sick. So the two sisters sent a message to Jesus telling him, "Lord, the one you love is very sick."
-John 11:1-3 

by Vincent Van Gogh 1889-90 

In the New Testament the bible makes reference to "two" different men named Lazarus. The first Lazarus was referred to as Lazarus the beggar; the second, Lazarus of Bethany. The name Lazarus is a Hebrew name that means "God has helped". In both cases God did help by blessing one in the afterlife and by blessing the other, Lazarus of Bethany, by raising him from the dead four days after he died.

This past Friday, at my dear friend's funeral, the story of Lazarus was shared with those who were in attendance. The story of Lazarus was told to remind all that through Jesus Christ there is hope & comfort. During what was a difficult time for Jesus, when he heard of the death of Lazarus, he didn't try to explain or make things better for Mary and Martha, or for the others that were grieving. What Christ displayed was his ability to grieve and be heartbroken, and because of that we can rest assured that God is in perfect harmony with every emotion and feeling that we entertain today. John 11:35 states; "Then Jesus wept." 

John 11:35 is the shortest verse in the bible and it is because of those three words we can rest assured, that through Jesus Christ, we can experience comfort in our time of need.

God knows how we feel and He identifies with our feelings. God can, and will, provide comfort in our time of need. In the valley of life we might not always experience a change in our circumstance, but we can count on the comfort that only God provides for those who humbly seek His face and pray for his presence in time of need.

God can, and will, provide relief and comfort in our time of need.

If comfort is what enables us to sleep at night then its hope that aids us in getting out of bed in the morning. The bible is replete with God's words propelling our belief that God is for us and not against us and that He has a future and a hope for all that choose to believe in Him.

In John 11:23 Jesus tells Martha that "Your brother will rise again." Later in the 11th chapter of John Jesus makes good on his promise and raises Lazarus from the dead:

 "Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
-John 11:40-44

by Rembrandt in 1630

In God there is encouragement, inspiration and trust. 

God's encouragement is what often sustains us and gives us the ability to put one foot in front of the other when our body, mind and spirit say "no more". God's inspiration is what gives us the hope and courage to forge on and be persistent in our earthly, and heavenly, pursuits. Many times inspiration keeps us from giving up. And our trust in God is what protects us. Psalms 118:8, the "middle" verse of bible, states; "It is better to trust the Lord than to put your confidence in people." In the 'heart and center' of God's word we are reminded of the positive outcome if we trust in our Lord and Savior over all else.

In God there is help and in God there is hope.

As I mentioned in the opening paragraph of this piece my good friend, Tim Tackett, was buried this past Friday. My mood has been mostly reflective and reserved as I recount over and over the showing and funeral in my mind. During this time, I saw people I haven't seen in years, became reacquainted with old friends and shared stories from the past. I hugged a grieving mother, kissed the forehead of a confused and saddened son and held a longtime friend in my arms as he cried at the burial of his good friend.   


And though there were times of physical pain and unbearable emotions there was something tangible, encouraging and beautiful that was present. The heartfelt concern and care from the multitude of people was tangible. The out pouring of emotion and being there in the time of another's need was encouraging. And it was a thing of beauty to see how one individual can touch so many lives in a very simple and quiet way. 

In the song "The Lazarus Heart" by Sting the lyrics read:

Though the sword was his protection
The wound itself would give him power
The power to remake himself at the time of his darkest hour
She said the wound would give him courage and pain
The kind of pain that you can't hide
From the wound a lovely flower grew
From somewhere deep inside

Many of us have a deep wound from the death of Tim, but from that wound something beautiful grew; from somewhere deep inside a flower grew in all of us. 

The Raising of Lazarus. (Rembrandt 1642)
Etching and drypoint

We all gathered around and paid honor to a man that reminded us that there is a right way, a proper way, to live. We held each other a little tighter and looked a little deeper into each other's eyes realizing that tomorrow is never really promised for any of us.

The time we spent together was a gift.

A beautiful gift. 

It is a gift that is not promised to be given again.

Finally, we all experienced comfort, hope and help much like Lazarus did. We all gained comfort from one another, and from God, in "our" time of need and "hope" for a brighter and a more encouraging tomorrow. 

In the end God helped all of us.

...and He will continue to help.

...all we have to do is ask.

sbb  24.5.11

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