Posted by Andy Jacob

April 3, 2014
One of the great liberation songs for African-American slaves tells the story of Mary of Bethany weeping at the death of her brother Lazarus.  “Oh Mary, Don’t You Weep” is a classic Negro spiritual that offered the hope of freedom by telling a coded story: urging Mary not to weep for her brother because, just as Moses liberated the people of Israel from Pharaoh’s yoke, so too would her brother Lazarus be liberated from death.  The embedded message was that freedom from slavery was no less a part of God’s desire and plan.If you have six minutes and forty six seconds to spare, click here to hear the musical story and be inspired…This Sunday in worship we will share Mary’s tears as we hear the Biblical story of the raising of Lazarus.  It is a critical and passionate story for so many reasons, not the least of which is that it is one of only two places in the gospels where Jesus “weeps”.  In this story Jesus’ tears flow freely when he is exposed to the raw emotion and pain captured in Mary’s tears.

The other place Jesus “weeps” is while riding a colt into Jerusalem on what we now call Palm Sunday.  There he weeps for the children of God who suffer oppression and injustice, and are not able to recognize or believe in the presence of God’s liberating love in their midst.

For the next two Sundays we will focus on tears and weeping; Jesus’ and ours.  In two parts the message will lead us to ask when and why we weep, and what our tears lead us to do.  For with Jesus, tears lead from death to life, and from slavery to freedom.