Following Cranmer’s old lectionary, today’s readings give an important teaching. The memory of raising Lazarus from the dead is still fresh. At Jesus’ visit to the family, ‘Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him.’ People came to see Lazarus. The miracle speaks for itself: it attracts the crowds. To the extent, that on the next day, many of them who came to the fest, ‘when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.’ He is greeted as King. This greeting is the aftermath of the fresh memory of Lazarus’ being raised from the death.
Whenever ‘healing’ takes place in a community, it liberates trust. Indifference, lack of hope and goals suddenly gives way renewed energies. Let us take the momentum and use it well! The celebration of the Eucharist is our day by day catalyst of trust. Our personal encounters with Jesus add something vital to the ‘vitality’ of the community. This is what I see here at St Augustine’s, Grahame Park. Prayer, by individuals and as a small community, creates a gate in our otherwise closed, banal, and routinely present. New opportunities arrive. Our present moments do prepare way for the future; for a ‘graced’ future. Like the unexpected visit of a Hindi family who asked for prayer for their mother who is unwell. They came with expectation and hope ‒ for prayer, and support. Their faith, I am sure, has triggered out something coming good. We do not know what it is yet. Our task is to preserve the momentum.
Otherwise, and this is the great lesson of today’s Old Testament reading, in place of grace, instead of grace, mistrust emerges. Which prevents any further growth and healing. Not only can mistrust cause stagnation but it can kill ‒ as Korah’s story shows. Instead of recognising the value of their liberation from Egypt, they can see only, in a distorted way, the opposite. They are refuse Moses and God’s work: “you only brought us out from a safe and desirable country (Egypt) ‘to kill us in the wilderness’.”
Let us welcome the moments of grace; let us prepare ourselves for its arrivals, and continue the life bequeathed to us in these events.
These are verbal Icons, expressions of how the world is seen from Saint Augustine's..