Why This Week Matters!

Many of us are already focused on Easter. We are making our plans. Planning what we'll do with friends and family and more. But this week, this week that we are in really matters. Don't move too quickly towards Easter forgetting something really important that happened this very week and could happen to you again THIS WEEK!In the Eastern Orthodox church, millions of people are remembering Lazarus, the friend whom Jesus loved but died and was raised to life again. It's called "The Feast of Lazarus" and it's important because the raising of Lazarus foreshadowed the raising of Jesus and Jesus knew it. As Lazarus walked forth from the tomb, Jesus would have looked at this amazing sight thinking something like this:  I will be doing what Lazarus is doing in only a few, short days.Only a week after Lazarus was raised to life, Jesus was in deep trouble. He entered the Passion Week--the week before his death and Lazarus would have been on his heart and his mind. We read in John 12 that Jesus even went back to the home of Lazarus, Mary and Martha and it was there that Mary anointed his feet with the sweet smelling fragrance of perfume and Jesus loved this aromatic comfort because he knew the stench of death was right around the corner.Do yourself a favor this weekend and re-read the story of Lazarus in John 11. It has all the drama of a best selling novel and a block buster movie. It's a story that changed an ordinary man's life into the stuff of transformation! -----------------------Here's the link to the book I wrote on Lazarus two years ago. It is the PREQUEL to The Jesus Life. The last chapter of The Lazarus Life raises the questions that I attempt to answer in The Jesus Life which is now released!http://www.amazon.com/The-Lazarus-Life-Spiritual-Transformation/dp/1434799956/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1333108074&sr=8-1 

Lenten Meditation #2: The Raising of Lazarus

This is one of the last oil paintings painted by Vincent Van Gogh. It shows the raising of Lazarus which is it's title. Jesus is not in the image but Lazarus is really a self-portrait of the artist himself, Vincent Van Gogh. Van Gogh saw himself as dead rising again to new life.See the sun, an ever present symbol in Van Gogh's work giving light, hope and presence. Notice Mary's surprise. Did she not really believe that what Jesus said could actually happen? Do we believe this?Lent is the 40 day journey that we walk towards Easter. We wonder now if we can make the journey. It's only the first day. On the first day, we sit with this question:What's dead in me that needs to be raised to new life?As I sit here and ponder this myself my mind roams to my weariness of my writing a new book. I"m ready for it to be done. The past two days have been painfully disappointing because I cloistered myself to work and work on the manuscript only to read the first chapter and to hate it. Hate it so much that I'm starting over with it. It's an uphill journey like the journey to Easter is for me right now. What feels dead is the very thing I have focused on the most this past year. I wonder today, if I will feel the life again; the passion again to find the right words.This is my journey to the cross I suppose. To be willing to lay down what I have valued most in order to be free to walk towards Jesus and to walk with him.As I write this early this morning, I'm aware of my own weariness and the need for a soul rest. Sometimes our minds can be so active like a pin-ball game--a machine where there is a lot of action with balls bouncing, things to avoid, traps to fall into and more. We want the peace.Yet, unless there is a resurrection, there will be no peace.This is my Lenten Journey. How would you describe yours?Lent helps me gain and re-gain perspective on the journey ahead of me. 40 days until Easter.Lenten Blessings!Stephen W. Smithwww.pottersinn.com