Last Sunday at MCC Auckland we had a bit of a treat. Rev John Fowler was visiting from Melbourne and kindly preached for us. He shared with us the story of Lazarus, but in a new way for many of us. It challenged us to look out for the ‘10% club’ which maybe hidden within scripture. Why were two sisters and a brother all living in the one house? Quite unusual for the time. Why do we never question why it was a man, who carried the water on his head, who lead them to the secret room where they would share the passover meal with Jesus? Especially as it was usually a female’s job.
I also quite like the way Lazarus’ family can be referred to as his family of choice. But this family wasn’t mum, dad and two point five kids. This was an unusual family which didn’t fit the ‘norm’. Much like my family!
He also used a ‘reflection after the message’ piece, which I think is a great idea to help cement what was delivered during the sermon.
Leader: I am Lazarus. I am the one labelled as ‘ill’. They don’t ask me how I feel. They talk about me, not to me. When I am labelled, people do not see me for who I am. But thankfully, Christ sees me for who I am.
All: I am a child of God. I am Lazarus.
I am the homosexual, the bisexual, the transgendered or straight person who is labelled ‘deviant’ and ‘unacceptable’. I am the mentally challenged person who is laughed at, and disregarded. I am the HIV infected person who is shunned.
I am a child of God. I am Lazarus.
I am the alcoholic who is labelled a drunkard.
I am unemployed and called a ‘dole-bludger’
I am a single mother and labelled ‘loose’
I am a child of God. I am Lazarus – and Jesus came and gave me life
I believe in God who called Lazarus from the tomb.
Yes – God calls me too from the closets of fear, self-denigration and despair. Amen.