By: Maggie Leonard
Reflection—v. 35, Jesus began to weep. So the Jews 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?’
Pretend that the last person that you talked to (take a moment, who was it?) just told you that he or she is pregnant. What would your reaction be? Surprise? Over-the-top squealing with joy? Profanity? Anger? Sadness? With a host of questions? Laughter? Blame? A fix? Though there are so many options, frequently we find ourselves reactive, defaulting to one response, blind to the other possibilities. Our responses are colored by the things we have going on, what we expect from someone, and even the tone of the questioner (they might expect a particular response from you). Our answer might change given the hour or the day. In this passage we see two different responses to people reacting to the same experience. One group responds with empathy—noticing the feelings involved and honoring them as such. The second group responds with a fix—which comes out as criticism and blame. Notice the distance between this second group that jumps to trouble-shooting and Jesus. Connection to one another in the midst of a bad situation requires vulnerability, the sharing of feelings, and the ability to sit with discomfort. It takes more time but does draw us together.
Prayer Compassionate God, help us to approach one another with tenderness.