Lent Five, Year A

Musical Reflection
Lazarus by David Byrne & St Vincent


God of Compassion,
you call us out of the bindings of death
on this, our resurrection day:
make us ready to surrender
the fear in which we hide
and step into your future
alive and unashamed;
through Jesus Christ, the life of the world.
First Reading

The Raising of Lazarus
by Franz Wright
adapted from the original notebook fragment by Rainer Maria Rilke

Evidently, this was needed. Because people need
to be screamed at with proof.
But he knew his friends. Before they were
he knew them. And they knew
that he would never leave them
there, desolate. So he let his exhausted eyes close
at first glimpse of the village fringed with tall fig
immediately he found himself in their midst:
here was Martha, sister of the dead
boy. He knew
she would not stray,
as he knew which would;
he knew that he would always find her
at his right hand,
and beside her
her sister Mary, the one
a whole world of whores
still stood in a vast circle pointing at. Yes,
all were gathered around him. And once again
he began to explain
to bewildered upturned faces
where it was he had to go, and why.
He called them “my friends.” The Logos, God’s
creating word,the same voice that said
Let there be light.
when he opened his eyes,
he found himself standing apart.
Even the two
slowly backing away, as though
from concern for their good name.
Then he began to hear voices;
quite distinctly,
or thinking:
if you had been here
our friend might not have died.
(At that, he slowly reached out
as though to touch a face,
and soundlessly started to cry.)
He asked them the way to the grave.
And he followed behind them,
to do what is not done
to that green silent place
where life and death are one.
By then other Brueghelian grotesques
had gathered, toothlessly sneering
across at each other and stalled
at some porpoise or pig stage
of ontogenetical horrorshow, keeping
their own furtive shadowy distances
and struggling to keep up
like packs of limping dogs;
merely to walk down this road
in broad daylight
had begun to feel illegal,
unreal, rehearsal,
testbut for what!
And the filth of desecration
sifting down over him, as a feverish outrage
rose up, contempt
at the glib ease
with which words like “living”
and “being dead”
rolled off their tongues;
and loathing flooded his body
when he hoarsely cried,
“Move the stone!”
“By now the body must stink,”
some helpfully suggested. But it was true
that the body had lain in its grave four days.
He heard the voice as if from far away,
beginning to fill with that gesture
which rose through him: no hand that heavy
had ever reached this height, shining
an instant in air. Then
all at once clenching
and crampedthe fingers
shrunk crookedly
into themselves,
and irreparably fixed there,
like a hand with scars of ghastly
slashing lacerations
and the usual deep sawing
across the wrist’s fret,
through all major nerves,
the frail hair-like nerves
so his hand
at the thought
all the dead might return
from that tomb
where the enormous cocoon
of the corpse was beginning to stir.
Yet nobody stood there
only the one young man,
pale as though bled,
stooping at the entrance
and squinting at the light,
picking at his face, loose
strips of rotting shroud.
All that he could think of
was a dark place to lie down,
and hide that wasted body.
And tears rolled up his cheek
and back into his eyes,
and then his eyes began
rolling back into his head …
Peter looked across at Jesus
with an expression that seemed to say
You did it, or What have you done?
And everyone saw
how their vague and inaccurate
life made room for his once more.

Second Reading
i thank You God for most this amazing
by e.e. cummings

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

Gospel Reading 1
John 11:1-45

A certain person, Lazarus, was ill. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sibling Martha. (This was the Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped his feet with her hair. Her sibling Lazarus was ill.) So Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus, saying, “Lord, the one whom you love is ill.”

When he heard this, Jesus said, “This illness isn’t fatal. It’s for the glory of God so that God’s Child can be glorified through it.” Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. When he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed where he was. After two days, he said to his disciples, “Let’s return to Judea again.”

The disciples replied, “Rabbi, the Jewish opposition wants to stone you, but you want to go back?”

Jesus answered, “Aren’t there twelve hours in the day? Whoever walks in the day doesn’t stumble because they see the light of the world. But whoever walks in the night does stumble because the light isn’t in them.”

He continued, “Our friend Lazarus is sleeping, but I am going in order to wake him up.”

The disciples said, “Lord, if he’s sleeping, he will get well.” They thought Jesus meant that Lazarus was in a deep sleep, but Jesus had spoken about Lazarus’s death.

Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died. For your sakes, I’m glad I wasn’t there so that you can believe. Let’s go to him.”

Then Thomas (the one called Didymus) said to the other disciples, “Let us go too so that we may die with Jesus.”

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 Jewish people had come to comfort Martha and Mary after their sibling’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, Lazarus wouldn’t have died. Even now I know that whatever you ask God, God will give you.”

Jesus told her, “Your sibling, Lazarus, will rise again.”

Martha replied, “I know that he will rise in the resurrection on the last day.”

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me will live, even though they die. Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

She replied, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, God’s Child, the one who is coming into the world.”

After she said this, she went and spoke privately to her sibling Mary, “The teacher is here and he’s calling for you.” When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to Jesus. He hadn’t entered the village but was still in the place where Martha had met him. When the Jewish people who were comforting Mary in the house saw her get up quickly and leave, they followed her. They assumed she was going to mourn at the tomb.

When Mary arrived where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, Lazarus wouldn’t have died.”

When Jesus saw her crying and the Jewish people who had come with her crying also, he was deeply disturbed and troubled. He asked, “Where have you laid him?”

They replied, “Lord, come and see.”

Jesus began to cry. The Jewish people said, “See how much he loved him!” But some of them said, “He healed the eyes of the man born blind. Couldn’t he have kept Lazarus from dying?”

Jesus was deeply disturbed again when he came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone covered the entrance. Jesus said, “Remove the stone.”

Martha, the sister of the dead person, said, “Lord, the smell will be awful! He’s been dead four days.”

Jesus replied, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believe, you will see God’s glory?” So they removed the stone. Jesus looked up and said, “Abba God, thank you for hearing me. I know you always hear me. I say this for the benefit of the crowd standing here so that they will believe that you sent me.” Having said this, Jesus shouted with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead person came out, his feet bound and his hands tied, and his face covered with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Untie him and let him go.”

Therefore, many of the Jewish people who came with Mary and saw what Jesus did believed in him.

Musical Reflection

I Became Awake by Great Lake Swimmers

St Lazarus Prayer
traditional Catholic, adapted
Dear patron and assistant of the poor and sick,
With this prayer we request your assistance,
and with the aid of the Holy Spirit
may the Lord always protect us during sickness or in health.
Give us the strength to overcome all the temptations on earth.
In the name of the Creator, the Redeemer and the Sustainer,

The Lord’s Prayer

O presence and pow’r within us,
Being and Life of all.
How we are filled, how we o’erflow
with infinite love and gladness!
We shall this day sow grace and peace,
and show mercy to all,
and gentle loving-kindness.
And we shall be not so self-serving,
but a constant source of giving.
For ours is the essence,
and the wholeness,
and the fullness forever.


Musical Reflection
Glory Under Dangerous Skies by Moist

Brigid’s Blessing

God bless our food;
God bless our drink.
And keep our homes
and ourselves
in Your embrace,
O God.

And may the blessing of God – God above us, God beside us, and God beneath us,
be with us and remain with us always. Amen.


Artwork by Penabranca

Invocation from Prayers for an Inclusive Church by Steven Shakespeare

Musical Reflection Lazarus by David Byrne & St Vincent

Poem The Raising of Lazarus by Franz Wright

Poem i thank You God for most this amazing by e.e. cummings

Musical Reflection I Became Awake by Great Lake Swimmers

Prayer to St Lazarus

Lord’s Prayer by Paul Alan Laughlin

Musical Reflection Glory Under Dangerous Skies by Moist

Blessing from Celtic Daily Prayer

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