Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. – 2 Corinthians 5:17
I once knew a couple that had been married for over 60 years. When I asked them to tell me the story of how they met and married, they looked at each other with a degree of embarrassment and then confessed to me that they eloped just two weeks after meeting. It was obvious that the beginning to the marriage was still a source of guilt in their lives. It turns out that their families were hurt by the quick marriage and it began their wedded life under a shroud of remorse. I was stunned that this couple who had such a beautiful and lengthy relationship was still carrying around shame. They were best friends for over 60 years, they were successful in business, they had wonderful daughters who dearly loved them, and they were close to all of their grandchildren. Despite all of this – they still felt guilty about eloping after only dating two weeks. Their story reminded me of the story of Lazarus:
So, they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. I knew that thou hearest me always, but I have said this on account of the people standing by, that they may believe that thou didst send me.” When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with bandages, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” – John 11: 41-44
Jesus went to the tomb of his close friend, Lazarus. There he was moved to tears with the grief that Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus, felt along with His own grief in the face of death. He called for the stone in front of the tomb to be removed and called Lazarus to come out. Lazarus had been dead for four days, but at the sound of Christ’s voice, he was raised from the dead.
When he walked out of the tomb, the people there must have been stunned! So much so that they just looked at Lazarus standing there in front of the tomb, still bound in his grave shroud. Jesus had to “resurrect” the people from their state of shock so that they would go to Lazarus and unbind him.
Jesus came to set us free and give us new life. But there are times that we are still bound by the things of the past. We are wearing our grave clothes even though we have been raised from the dead. What thing from your past is a shroud over your life? What are the burial cloths you need to shed?
Do not feel that you have to keep them out of a sense of penance. Christ has raised you up to new life. Drop the things from your past that bind you and step out into the Light!
Rev. Wendy Lambert, Senior Executive Pastor