Take a moment just now

To step away from the worries of illness and isolation.

Sit at the feet of a faithful Gospel writer.

Hear the stories of resurrection and life

And let those stories speak to you.

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When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Bethany was a little less than two miles from Jerusalem. Many Jews had come to comfort Martha and Mary after their brother’s death. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him, while Mary remained in the house. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died. Even now I know that whatever you ask God, God will give you.”

John 11:17-22

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Can you picture it? Jesus’s friend Martha – the energetic and loving woman who busied herself cooking for Jesus when he visited her in Bethany, that Martha – is running down the road to meet Jesus.

I can just see her now: feet pounding, breath coming fast, one hand holding her windblown headscarf, tears running down her face. Her beloved brother has just died, and Jesus, who she had hoped would heal her brother, is finally arriving – only to see Lazarus dead and closed up in a tomb.

When she reaches Jesus, she says to him: “If you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.”

It sounds like Martha is angry at Jesus – who could blame her? But Jesus can take it – he can take Martha’s accusations, he can take our criticism, he can take our anger when we’ve been hurt by the powers of sin and death in the world. And here’s the thing: Jesus still loves us, even when we’re angry at him.

Jane Claspy Nesmith

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Forgiving God: when I run to you in anger, help me to remember that you are strong. You can take my accusations and my rage. You always reach out in love, and you seek to bring peace. Amen.

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Listen to these words: “I have called you by name, you are mine.” (Isaiah 43:1)

Go now, knowing that God calls you by name, and claims you with love.

Go now, knowing that God draws near when you cry out in sadness and anger.

Go now, ready to live a resurrection life.

Jane Claspy Nesmith

Jane Claspy Nesmith, a member of the United Methodist Church, teaches writing and directs the writing center at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She enjoys singing, birding, and hanging out with her husband and two adult sons.

Praying Together

John Morton

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