I'm looking forward to tomorrow. In the morning we'll attend a special Divine Liturgy in honor of Lazarus Saturday, followed by a potluck breakfast with our parish community. I read this amazing thing today on Father Stephen Freeman's blog, Glory to God for All Things:
Lazarus is an important character in 19th century Russian literature. Raskolnikov, in Crime and Punishment, finds the beginning of his repentance of the crime of murder, by listening to a reading of the story of Lazarus. It is, for many, and properly so, a reminder of the universal resurrection. What Christ has done for Lazarus He will do for all.
For me, he is also a sign of the universal entombment: that even before we die, we have frequently begun to inhabit our tombs. We live our life with the doors closed (and we stink). Our hearts are often places of corruption and not the habitation of the good God. Or, at best, we ask Him to visit us as He visited Lazarus. That visit brought tears to the eyes of Christ. The state of our corruption makes Him weep. It is such a contradiction to the will of God. We were not created for the tomb.
I also note that in the story of Lazarus – even in his being raised from the dead – he rises in weakness. He remains bound by his graveclothes. Someone must “unbind” him. We ourselves, having been plunged into the waters of Baptism and robed with the righteousness of Christ, too often exchange those glorious robes for graveclothes. Christ has made us alive, be we remain bound like dead men.
You know what I don't want? To live my life with the doors closed, to wear grave clothes instead of the glorious robes of Christ's righteousness.
Have I mentioned to you, maybe once or twice or a thousand times before, how thankful I am for the Church? I don't mean to be a bore but I honestly just cannot get over it – how rich and deep and intense are the Truths and Mysteries layered within Her hymns and feasts. Oh, what a treasure.
By raising Lazarus from the dead before Your Passion, You confirmed the universal resurrection, O Christ God! Like the children with palms of victory, We cry out to You, O Vanquisher of Death; Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord!
- Apolytikion: First Tone