John 11: 1-45

Illustrated New Resources

  • What Now, Lord?

    by Jim Eaton
    Holland was overwhelmed by a German assault in 1940. Soon the Nazi focus on murdering Jews made itself felt. In Amsterdam, a large theater was gutted and used as a detention center and and used to gather Jewish children so they could be killed. Ironically, it was called “the Creche”, a word usually used about the stable where Jesus was born. A small group of Dutch resisters, both Christians and Jews, began to work to save these children. Despite the increasing risks, for the next three years they organized smuggled children out of the creche to homes in northern Holland and other places where families would hide and help them. The creche was meant to be a tomb for these children. But thanks to the efforts of these who walked into that tomb and spirited them out, hundreds of children were saved. But it’s not simply a story of heroes and happy children. Many of the group were lost to the Gestapo, arrested, tortured, murdered. Darkness is powerful; death does not give up. The only power greater than death is resurrection, the only thing that can keep the light alive is the power of God’s love...
  • Just About Everywhere

    by Scott Hoezee
    Some of you have seen the fine film Field of Dreams in which long dead baseball players somehow come back to life to play on a mysterious baseball field that Kevin Costner’s character, Ray, had built right in the middle of an Iowa cornfield. When one player steps out onto the ball diamond, he says to Ray, “Is this heaven?” to which Ray replies, “No, it’s Iowa.” “Funny, it looked like heaven to me.” So also maybe Lazarus at first asked Jesus, “Is this heaven?” “No, it’s Bethany.” But maybe it looked like heaven to Lazarus just because Jesus was there...
  • Lazarus

    Art and Theology by Victoria Jones
    SONG: “Lazarus” by David Wimbish (of the band The Collection), on The Collection EP (2011)
  • Lent 5A (2020)

    by Alex McAllister
    Fyodor Dostoyevsky, the great writer and great Christian, was implicated in a plot to assassinate the Tsar of Russia. He was not one of the plotters but he was on the fringes of a group that wanted to overthrow the established order. The plot was uncovered and he was arrested and tried, found guilty and sentenced to death. He put in an appeal even though the chances of getting a reprieve were non-existent. In the meantime, he was sent to a prison camp in Siberia where he experienced some of the harshest conditions known to man. His appeal was turned down and he was given a date for execution. The day came round and he was put up against the wall to be shot. But at the very last moment a messenger arrived with word from St Petersburg, his sentence was commuted to four years penal servitude. Dostoyevsky experienced a resurrection. He was a dead man; the book he wrote about his prison life is called ‘The House of the Dead’, and the title literally sums up his experiences. He was dead; he regarded himself dead, because just waiting for death like that can be considered even worse than being dead. And then he was alive. And although he had to endure very harsh conditions he was alive, and he saw everything in a new way. He was able to live life to the full...
  • Can These Bones Live?

    by Jim McCrea
    "An experiment of a different kind was performed by researchers at Amherst College in Massachusetts. They took a squash that was about the size of a person's head and placed a metal band around it. The band was attached to instruments that would tell them how much pressure the squash was exerting against the band as the squash tried to grow in spite of the constraint. Within a month the squash registered five hundred pounds of pressure against the band. But it was still trying to grow. In two months, it was exerting 1,500 pounds of pressure. When the pressure got to be 2,000 pounds, a ton of pressure, they had to reinforce the band. Finally at 5,000 pounds of pressure, no amount of reinforcement would work, and the squash broke the band. Inside, the squash was full of dense fibers that had grown to push against the band restraint. And the researchers also discovered that the squash plant had sent out more than 16 miles of root structures, searching for the necessary nutrients and water it needed to grow against the force holding it back...
  • Lent 5A (2020)

    by Paula Murray
    Do you believe this? Our response to the Covid-19 crisis or any other crisis soon to come our way will depend in large part on our response to that question. A priest recently died in France (Newsweek, Tuesday, March 24, 2020). Seventy-two years old, Father Berardelli was diagnosed with the virus and, hoping to ensure his recovery, his parish apparently bought him a ventilator. The priest sent the precious machine to the room of a much younger man also in need of help breathing. Faith affirms a life-giving generosity, refusing to let our natural fear of death to overcome God’s insistence that we care for our neighbors. Believing that Jesus is the resurrection and the life, Father B. told his doctors that the younger man deserved a chance at a life as long as his, and then put himself in God’s hands. All men die; the priest died in a way that was true to his faith and not false...
  • The Problem of Suffering and Evil

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    as Jesus reveals, God is not so much a rescuing God as a redeeming one. God does not protect us from pain, but instead enters it and ultimately redeems it. That might sound simplistic in the face of real death and evil, but it is not. We see a powerful illustration of this in Jesus’ reaction to the death of Lazarus. When he arrives near the house, he is met by Martha who says to him: “If you had been here, my brother would not have died!” Basically her question is: “Where were you? Why didn’t you come and heal him?” Martha then goes and calls her sister, Mary. When Mary arrives she repeats the identical words to Jesus that Martha had spoken: “If you had been here my brother would not have died!” However, coming out of Mary’s mouth, these words mean something else, something deeper. Mary is asking the universal, timeless question about suffering and God’s seeming absence. Her query (“Where were you when my brother died?”) asks that question for everyone: Where is God when innocent people suffer? Where was God during the holocaust? Where is God when anyone’s brother dies?...
  • Jesus Wept

    by Noel Schoonmaker
    Kathy Black tells the story of a little girl who was late getting home from school one day. Her mother worried about her more and more as the afternoon wore on. When the little girl finally arrived, her mother said, “Where have you been? I’ve been worried sick!” “Well,” the little girl said, “I was almost home when I saw Suzie sitting on the curb. She was crying because her dolly was broken.” Feeling relieved, her mother said, “Oh, so you stopped to help her fix her dolly?” “No,” said the little girl, “I sat down beside her and helped her cry.”...
  • A Gospel for a Time of Plague

    by David Sellery
    C.S. Lewis wrote: “Jesus tasted death on behalf of all others. He is the representative ‘Die-er’ of the universe, and for that very reason (he is) the Resurrection and the life.” Lewis sees mortal death as both a frightful inconvenience and a necessary conveyance, writing that: “How awful it must have been for poor Lazarus who actually died, got it over, and then was brought back to go through it all a few years later.” But the trip was worth it. Lazarus’ passage from life to death and back again revealed Christ’s power over God’s greatest gift… the gift of life… not the classic span of three score and ten… but the gift of eternal life… a passage to a resurrected life of unbounded joy...

Other New Resources

Recommended Resources

{Based on requests from several members (although I am reluctant to do so since my favorites may not be those of others), I am listing here some of my own favorite resources. FWIW!!]
  • Bruce's Story

    by Gordon Bannon
    ("Bruce was a man who had Aids and who was angry and yet creative with his anger. I had heard tales of this man who had been a ballet dancer but who now spent his days taking his old falcon into Brunswick st in Fitzroy, and dancing on the roof of the car, stopping every now and then to chat with strangers. One day, out of the blue, he showed up at our little church...")
  • Lent 5A (2011)

    by Delmer Chilton
    ("At a preaching seminar a few years ago I heard Dr. Lloyd John Ogilvie, former chaplain to the US Senate and longtime pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Hollywood, CA. tell about a time he was in a jewelry store in LA, picking up a new watch battery. While he was there a young woman came in and asked to see some crosses. The clerk took her to a display case and proceeded to show her a selection of large, expensive crosses; like the fashion accessory crosses worn by hot actresses and hip rap stars. The young woman said, 'Oh, I don't want anything like that. I want an everyday cross.'...")
  • The Now of Resurrection

    by D. Mark Davis
    (lots of Greek exegesis!)
  • Lazarus, Come Forth!

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    ("William Willimon describes a true situation where a bishop sent a seminary graduate to her first assignment, an inner city church in decline for the last 20 years. 'Just keep it going as best you can,' he suggested. She told the board that she thought she had a gift for working with children. 'Then the bishop sent you to the wrong church,' responded one of the women on the board bluntly..." and other illustrations)
  • Give Faith a Chance

    by Sil Galvan
    In December 1991, I was diagnosed with rectal cancer, which had grown from its earlier stages because of my initial reluctance to have it examined by a doctor. By mid-January 1992, I was operated on for a colon re-section. During the spring and summer I concentrated on healing, but things inside just weren't right and I knew it. I experienced pain and too many bowel movements each day. A medical procedure searched for the cause, and another procedure opened my rectum. The doctors decided a colostomy was in order. By this time I was pretty tired of being a hospital "bird," and wanted to get it all over with and get on with my life. A third operation was scheduled. By March 1993, I had my new colostomy and also some bad news. During my operation, the doctor saw cancerous looking tissue but couldn't deal with it and do my colostomy too, so he took some biopsies and closed me up. The biopsies revealed the cancer had returned to the same place (the rectal area) and was spreading. I was depressed beyond belief. It was a rainy, dreary March morning and I watched the feeble light of dawn from my rain-streaked windows. I was depressed and in despair. Lying in the hospital, my doctor's words rang in my ears. "It's a can of worms down there, Paul, you'll need another operation by a skilled team of surgeons who just do this kind of pelvic surgery. I can't do it."
  • Lent 5A

    by Bill Loader
    (always good insights!)
  • Exegetical Notes (John 11:1-45)

    by Brian Stoffregen
    (always excellent exegesis with numerous quotes from commentaries)
  • She's Going to Be Okay

    by Robert Stuhlmann
    ("It was early, six or seven in the morning, when I received a call from a parishioner that their five-year old daughter was having a severe asthma attack and had been rushed to the Emergency room. They were afraid they were going to lose her. It was my birthday. 'Not on my birthday', I thought, 'Lord, you're not going to let her die on my birthday!!' I was adamant..." great story. Very similar to the one in my own homily above!)
  • Illustrations, Quotes and Lectionary Reflections (Lent 5A)

    by Various Authors
    ("150 years ago, 500 people died of cholera in just ten days in one London neighborhood, marking the beginning of another horrible epidemic. Victorian physician Dr. John Snow of London had already written a controversial pamphlet suggesting that cholera was not caused by 'vapors', but was instead a disease of the 'gut', spread by contaminated water...")
  • Jesus Enters the Danger Zone

    by D. Mark Davis
    includes lots of Greek exegesis.

Narrative Sermons from the Archives

Illustrated Resources (and Other Resources of Merit) from 2017 to 2019

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tabâ€. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)
  • Lord, If You Had Been Here

    by Jim Chern
    A few months ago, I met this guy who was an NYPD hero by the name of Terry O’Hara (if I can even say that since we only met through Twitter of all places). Terry was a few years younger than me - and had worked at Ground Zero in the days, weeks and months following 9/11, trying to initially help rescue trapped people - then recover people who were dead after that horrific terrorist attack. Tragically, 9/11 still is devastating people in our area almost 16 years later, as Terry got cancer as a result of his efforts... That’s unfortunately how I even knew of him...
  • Death Holds No Fear

    by Delmer Chilton
    Czar Nicholas I quickly learned of the young radicals group and decided to teach them a lesson. He had them arrested, tried and sentenced to death by firing squad. They were dressed in white death gowns and led to a public square where the military detail awaited them. Blindfolded, dressed in burial clothes, hands bound tightly behind their backs, they were paraded before a jeering crowd and then tied to posts. The order “ready, aim” was shouted. The rifles were cocked and … at just that moment a horseman rode up with a message from the czar: Sentence was commuted to four years of hard labor. Fyodor Dostoevsky never fully recovered from this experience. He had peered into the jaws of death, and from that moment life became for him precious beyond calculation. “Now my life will change,” he said, “I shall be born again in a new form.”
  • Full Circle

    by Liz Goodman
    Come and see: beginning with Jesus to his first disciples, then among his inner circle, then further abroad among foreigners, word was out until finally it would return, full circle, Mary and Martha saying now to Jesus what had been Jesus' first to say: Come and see.
  • Breathing Life into Death

    by Beth Johnston
    In 1914 the world was at war. The troops that had thought it would be “all over by Christmas” were sorely disappointed. On Christmas Eve though they did get a brief respite from the war as peace broke out along sections of the Western Front. Singing Christmas Carols in several tongues, sharing a game of soccer, teats from home and pictures of loved ones were a few of the features of the famed truce.
  • Jesus Does Not Overwhem, He Woos Us Instead.

    by Terrance Klein
    In his short film “Oedipus Wrecks,” Woody Allen plays Sheldon Mills, a highly successful New York lawyer. But Sheldon’s life has a burden. His Jewish mother humiliates him by speaking loudly in restaurants, by showing up unexpectedly at his law firm, by urging him to go slow with his goy girlfriend, by never letting him forget that he was a bed wetter. As Sheldon puts it, “I love her, but I’d wish she’d disappear.” One day, she does, when she is called upon to assist a magician. She enters his sword box and…disappears. Even the magician is flustered. Backstage, when an irate Sheldon demands an explanation, the magician tells him: “I don’t know. It’s never happened before.”
  • Resurrection Comes by Way of Witness, Not Explanation

    by Terrance Klein
    At the front door he asked, “Father, may I speak with you, privately, in your office?” I was a newly ordained priest at the old cathedral in Dodge City. He had come up, a few blocks, from Highway 56, the Santa Fe Trail. We walked back to my office. He entered and insisted that I shut the door. I probably should not have done that, but, remember, my knees were knocking. When the door was closed, he leaned over me and pulled out a wanted poster. “Father, this is not me.” He struck the poster with his large index finger. “You gotta believe me. This is not me.”
  • Heartache, Miracle, Invitation

    by David Lose
    There are, I think, three major movements to this story. The first is heartache. Not just the heartache of Lazarus’ death, which was undoubtedly significant, but also the particular heartache of Jesus’ delay. The second element of this story is miracle. It comes first as a promise, though only later does the force of that promise take hold. But the passage goes on to one further move: invitation. That is, even while the action to raise Lazarus from the dead is clearly and decisively Jesus’, yet he invites those around him to participate: “Unbind him and let him go”.
  • Can They? Can They? Can They?

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
    Henry Alexander Bowler's canvas (above) shows a woman in a country churchyard, leaning on a gravestone seemingly pondering what is around her. The stone on which she leans marks the grave of John Faithful, who died in 1791. A skull and femur erupt from the dirt in front of her. Engraved on the stone, though she cannot see it, is the text "I am the Resurrection and the Life."
  • Silence and the Word

    by Nancy Rockwell
    And so all those other words: curses, rages, refusals, denials; all those other words, are not God’s words. And all those other prompts: our frustration, our anger, our fear, our pain, will not elicit godly words. Only deeply felt tears for another, not for ourselves, will elicit God’s word. The word of God, for us, is what it always is: Come out. And it is spoken to someone we have given up as lost.
  • The Big Deal

    by David Sellery
    C.S. Lewis wrote that: “Jesus tasted death on behalf of all others. He is the representative ‘Die-er’ of the universe; and for that very reason (he is) the Resurrection and the life.” Lewis sees mortal death as both a frightful inconvenience and a necessary conveyance, writing that: “How awful it must have been for poor Lazarus who actually died, got it over, and then was brought back to go through it all a few years later.”
  • The Spirit Gives Life

    by Nancy Usselmann, FSP
    An article I read recently talked about a homeless addict who became a priest. He wrote that at the very moment of despair he walked by a church and felt pulled to go inside. That changed his life forever. He put himself into rehab, changed his lifestyle, and entered the seminary. Now he is a priest serving the poor, addicts, and prostitutes on the streets of Montreal, guiding them and helping them transform their lives. A true resurrection story. (Priest is Fr. Claude Paradis)
  • Called from Death to Life

    by Katerina Whitley
    Robert Browning wrote one of his brilliant dramatic monologues on Lazarus. In the poem “Epistle,” an Arab wandering physician of the first century comes across Lazarus. “The Man had something in the look of him,” he writes in wonder back to his teacher, Abib. Throughout the monologue, the wanderer tries to report on his other scientific and healing discoveries in the Middle East, but he circles back again and again to the most intriguing one of all: “—the man’s own firm conviction rests that he was dead (in fact they buried him), —that he was dead and then restored to life by a Nazarene physician of his tribe” he reports; “this grown man eyes the world like a child.” The physician’s interest is not in how and if this bringing Lazarus back from death occurred; his fascination lies in the person he became afterwards— “for see how he takes up the after-life.”

Illustrated Resources (and Other Resources of Merit) from 2014 to 2016

  • Mr. Resurrection

    by Scott Barton
    My favorite special offering that the church takes is the One Great Hour of Sharing. Different denominations take their own special offerings, but nine of them take this one. I always liked the idea that started it. In 1946, the new Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, set a goal of one million dollars per year for the Presiding Bishop’s Fund for World Relief in the aftermath of World War II. On nationwide radio, he challenged members to raise “one million dollars in one hour.” His impassioned challenge worked. During the first three years, Episcopalians raised $3.8 million. In 1949, church leaders from several denominations built on this idea.
  • Not Failures But Faith Bearers

    by Christopher Burkett
    ("Sadhu Sundar Singh was born a Sikh in 1889 but as a young man converted to Christianity and decided to stay in India to be a missionary and bear witness to Christ. One late afternoon in the Himalayas when he was travelling in the company of a Buddhist monk, it started to snow. The wind was bitterly cold and the night was descending quickly. As they crossed over a narrow path above a steep cliff, they heard a cry for help. Deep in the ravine there was a man who had fallen into it and was laying there wounded...")
  • Lent 5A (2014)

    by Delmer Chilton
    ("My grandfather had a very sly wit, one that snuck up on you. He used to tell a story about a man who died. They had the funeral at his home, with the preachers and immediate family on the porch, mourners standing in the yard and an open coffin in the back of a mule-drawn wagon. After several sermons and much weeping and gnashing of teeth, the widow climbed onto the wagon seat next to the undertaker who drove the wagon up the hill to the family cemetery...")
  • Remembering Death, Confessing Life

    by Daniel Clendenin
    (includes several quotes)
  • It's a Miracle!

    by Angie Larson Clive
    ("78 year old Walter Williams died in hospice care on March 2, 2014. A nurse and a family member called the coroner to say that he had died. Soon after Coroner Dexter Howard arrived and pronounced him dead at 9 p.m. He was placed in a body bag and transported to the local funeral home. The coroner began to prepare the body for burial and then a surprising thing happened. The bag started to move...")
  • Living Forward, Understanding Afterwards

    by Tom Cox
    ("I always liked the child's statement in class who said that this is a story of Jesus bringing us back to life no matter how "stinky" we become. I agree. It would be nice if we realised that there is life before death as well as after. I do not believe that we have to wait until our physical death to experience resurrection on some level. If you like, our entire life is a series of deaths and resurrections. There are times when we "stink" to highest heaven...")
  • In the Midst of Life, We Are in Death

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("In 1991, Conor Clapton, the four year old son of guitarist Eric Clapton accidentally fell to his death. This absolutely devastated Clapton and eventually he wrote a song to express his grief. I don't know much about Clapton but his faith did get him through some low times in his life. This song expresses the turmoil grief can bring and the last lines give a hint of the peace that faith in Christ gives. The song is Tears in Heaven...")
  • When Someone Grieves

    by Steve Goodier
    ("I often remember a story told by Joseph Bayly when I struggle to say the 'right thing' to someone who is hurting. Mr. Bayly lost three children to death over the course of several years. He wrote a book called View From a Hearse, in which he talks about his grief. He says this about comforting those who grieve...")
  • Looking for Crocuses

    by Janet Hunt
    ("I went looking for crocuses the other morning, and I found them, thank God. They were right where they are every spring. Although they were looking a little peaked, I have to say --- I 'm thinking this hard winter has been tough on them, too. I went looking for crocuses because I had had enough of cold and darkness and death. For you see this week I officiated at the funeral of a 47 year old...")
  • The Details of Death

    by Terrance Klein
    ("Consider then Saint John of the Cross, the details of his death. He died with ulcerating wounds, caused by Erysipelas, an acute infection of the skin and lymphatics. The friars with whom John had been living had sent him away to die. He was a soft spoken man, a silent dreamer with a warm smile, but John had introduced reforms into Carmelite religious life that roiled many...")
  • Images on the Raising of Lazarus

    Compiled by Jenee Woodard
  • Raising Lazarus

    by Peter Lockhart
    ("The movie The Bucket List follows the escapades of 2 men who are given terminal diagnosis. In their last months of life they seek to cross items off the list of things that they want to do before they 'kick the bucket'. After the movie people began talking about their own bucket lists. You can go online to all sorts of websites with suggestions of things to do before you 'kick the bucket'...")
  • Away with Death

    by John Martens
    ("Ray Jasper, an inmate of death row in Texas who may be dead by the time this column appears, described empathy this way: 'Empathy gives you an inside view. It doesn't say, 'If that was me'; empathy says, 'That is me.'' Jesus cried because he felt our pain, shared our pain; he could say, 'That is me.'...")
  • Lent 5A (2014)

    by Alex McAllister
    "Fyodor Dostoyevsky, the great writer and great Christian, was implicated in a plot to assassinate the Tsar of Russia. He was not one of the plotters but he was on the fringes of a group that wanted to overthrow the established order. The plot was uncovered and he was arrested and tried, found guilty and sentenced to death. He put in an appeal even though the chances of getting a reprieve were non-existent..."
  • Don't Cave In....To the Death People

    by Andrew Prior
    (includes and in-depth look at the various aspects of the text, as well as several quotes)
  • Jesus, Dragonslayer

    by Nancy Rockwell
    ("All the world has tales of dragonslayers. The dragon is Death, a monster breathing poisonous fire, whose hunger feeds, one by one, on everyone. In their terror, townspeople sacrifice vulnerable flocks, then their young, and then their beautiful maidens to the corrupt appetites of the dragon. At last comes the Dragonslayer: pure hearted, valorous, faithful to God, compassionate, he rises as the champion of the afflicted. Iconic among dragonslayers is St. George, patron saint of England....")

Illustrated Resources (and Other Resources of Merit) from 2011 to 2013

  • Lent 5A (2011)

    by Leroy Clementich, CSC
    ("Most of us, somewhere in our educational history, must surely have been introduced to that beautiful poem by William Wordsworth entitled Intimations of Immortality From Recollections of Early Childhood. Here are some of the early lines: 'There was a time when meadow, grove and stream, the earth and every common sight to me did seem appareled in celestial light...")
  • Lazarus and the "Haunting Hypothetical"

    by Daniel Clendenin
    ("Of the more than 400 books that I've read and reviewed the last ten years, one of my favorites is Nothing to Be Frightened Of by the British writer Julian Barnes. The New York Times named it one of the ten best books of 2008. Barnes's memoir is an emotionally resonant exercise in that most Lenten of all disciplines — memento morum, contemplate your death...")
  • Dead or Alive

    by Rob Elder
    So “Come and see” is an invitation-to-discipleship phrase that in the story of the raising of Lazarus turns the invitation back to Jesus. “Where have you laid him?” Jesus asked, and the people replied, “Come and see.” And he wept. They took it as a sign that Jesus loved Lazarus, which I am sure is true, but John invariably operates on two or more levels of meaning in his gospel. I am equally sure that another reason Jesus began to weep, perhaps the main reason, was that a tomb containing a dead man along with an invitation to “come and see,” that is, to complete his calling, was for him a concrete realization of the coming death and entombment that he would face. And he began to weep. It is, as one great preacher once said, as strong a commentary on “And the Word became flesh” as can be found...
  • Dealing with Disappointment

    by Scott Grant
    ("Marian Fontana's husband was a New York City firefighter when the World Trade Center was attacked on September 11, 2001. That day, she 'wandered into every church in my neighborhood in Brooklyn' to ask God to protect her husband. Turns out her husband was one of the 343 firefighters killed when the twin towers crashed to earth..")
  • Lent 5A (2011)

    by Scott Hoezee
    ("In one of her short stories the writer Annie Dillard has a scene in which a family is sadly gathered at a grave to commit a loved one's body to the earth. At one point the minister intones the familiar words from I Corinthians 15, 'Where, O Death, is thy sting?' Upon hearing that, one of the family members looks up...")
  • Jesus Wept

    by Fred Kane
    ("The phone rings. The voice is that of the wife of a friend. She reports that her husband has just died. The man expresses shock, and then sorrow. He tries to find words to express his feelings. He can't find them. She tells him about the funeral arrangements. The man knows that the expectation is that he should go. He should be at the funeral. He wants to go, but he cannot go..." and another illustration - this is a must read!! Highly recommended!!)
  • The Raising of Lazarus

    by Philip McLarty
    In his book, Don't Take My Grief Away, Doug Manning tells of a young couple whose 18-month-old daughter developed a croup and was taken to the hospital. She was put under an oxygen tent and given antibiotics. In spite of everything the doctors did, she died less than an hour later. When Doug got there, the mother was crying hysterically. He was a young pastor, and he tried to console her. He said, "There, there, you must get hold of yourself." He said the young woman looked at him straight in the eye and said with fire in her voice, "Don't take my grief away from me. I deserve it, and I'm going to have it."...
  • Sideswiped by the Trivial

    by Larry Patten
    ("However, verse six tossed a banana in my path: 'After having heard that Lazarus was ill, Jesus waited two days longer in the place where he was.' Two days longer. Jesus waited. Really? We live in a society that doesn't like to wait. We hurry, worry, zoom, fret, rush, and count nanoseconds rather than minutes. Is it done yet? Why are you taking so long?...")
  • The Road to Easter Runs Through a Cemetary

    by Wiley Stephens
    ("William Barclay was asked once on the BBC about the miracles in the Bible. He defined them as symbols of what God can do today. He used as an example Jesus calming the Sea of Galilee. He said that in any storm, Jesus can give confidence and calmness. He stills the storms of our hearts. When asked where he was with this in his life, Barclay explained that years ago his twenty-one year old daughter drowned in a boating accident...")

Illustrated Resources (and Other Resources of Merit) from 2008 to 2010

  • Unbind Him and Let Him Go

    by Samuel Candler
    ("'Unbind him, and let him go!' I like these words more than I like 'Lazarus, come out'. Indeed, these words may be more powerful than the words 'Come out!'. Because now, the community needs to assist in the resurrection...")
  • The Day I Was Arrested

    by John Christianson
    ("It was a Monday morning, about ten years ago – my day off. I answered the doorbell and two police officers were standing there. 'Are you John Christianson?' I answered, 'Yes, what's up?' They answered, very seriously, 'We're placing you under arrest for lawlessness.'...")
  • Dead Man Walking

    by David Deffinbaugh
    ("The sole surviving painting of the 15th-century German artist Albert Van Outwater is a depiction of this week's gospel lesson: the raising of Lazarus...")
  • Lent 5A (2008)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ["I like to think of Lazarus (who was obviously the kid brother) after Jesus left and even after he went back to the father in heaven. Lazarus was very proud of the fact that he came back from the dead and talked about it to everyone who would listen..."]
  • The Raising of Lazarus

    by John Loving
    "Those who have been through one of these devastating experiences know the inevitability of that word IF. Both sisters say to Jesus, "If you had only been here, this would never have happened...."
  • On the Possibilities

    by Rainer Maria Rilke
    ("We must assume our existence as broadly as we in any way can; everything, even the unheard-of, must be possible in it. That is at bottom the only courage that is demanded of us: to have courage for the most strange, the most singular and the most inexplicable that we may encounter...")
  • The Way of the Cross: Lazarus, Come Forth!

    by Billy D. Strayhorn
    ("There was a guy riding in a cab one day. He was new to the city and was looking for a good place to eat, so he leaned forward, tapped the cabby on the shoulder and said, 'Hey, Buddy'. The driver let out a blood curdling scream and lost control of the cab. He nearly hit a bus, jumped the curb and stopped just inches from going through a huge plate-glass window and into a crowded restaurant...")
  • A Voice You Can Be Sure Of

    by Keith Wagner
    ("William Willimon describes a true situation where a bishop sent a seminary graduate to her first assignment, an inner city church in decline for the last 20 years. 'Just keep it going as best you can,' he suggested. She told the board that she thought she had a gift for working with children. 'Then the bishop sent you to the wrong church,' responded one of the women on the board bluntly...")
  • Lazarus, Come Out!

    by Bill Wigmore
    back in the winter of 1934, Wilson's alcoholism had him totally down and almost counted out.He’d been detoxed three times and each time he was released from the hospital, he relapsed – he just couldn’t stay sober. His doctor had declared him “a hopeless alcoholic” and told his wife to get herself prepared for the worst. And so, when his newly sober friend Ebby came to call on him, he found Bill sitting in his kitchen, severely depressed. And who wouldn’t be! Bill was down to the point where he was even contemplating suicide – he was ready to choose Death over Life. I’ve been there in my life and my guess is some of you have been there too. And the Lazarus story reminds me of the way Wilson tried to describe those feelings – what it was like inside him – deep inside - where people never get to see. Bill said his alcoholism was as if he was chained hand and foot to the back-wall of some very long, dark cave; and try as he might, he couldn't break free. He said he could still see his family and his friends standing at the mouth of that cave; and they were there calling to him and begging him to come out - “come step out of your darkness and into the light” – But he didn't know how. Bill said he wanted to stop drinking – but every time he tried, he failed; and each time he failed, it seemed like he got pulled back still deeper into the bowels of that long, dark cave. And then Wilson said, when his friend Ebby visited him – he saw his first little ray of light. He knew he’d finally come face to face with another addict who’d somehow managed to find his way out of his darkness. An alcoholic whose problem was every bit as bad as his own. A hopeless drunk who'd been every bit as trapped in another cave as he was in his. And yet, there was Ebby! – Sitting in front of him sober and free –“Unbound” - to use the words of tonight’s gospel – Bill said it was as if Ebby was reaching out his hand and ready to lead him out. That visit from Ebby started Bill Wilson’s journey back from the dead...
  • How Do You Celebrate Your Values?

    by David Zersen
    ("A fresco from 320 CE shows the Raising of Lazarus as does a gilt glass bowl and ivory panels from the mid 4th century. Again, given the settings, this story was used to express the earliest Christians' confidence that Jesus was in fact Lord over life and death...")
  • Illustrations (Lent 5A)(2008)

    by Tim Zingale
    ("A professor of biology made it his custom to stand before his students holding up a little seed between his thumb and forefinger. When he bowed before the seed, his students were mystified. This university professor had spent his whole life studying the beginning of life, and he acknowledged to his students that it was still a mystery to him..." and several others)

Illustrated Resources (and Other Resources of Merit) from the Archives

  • Waiting and Weeping

    by Mickey Anders
    There's a story of a little girl who came home late from school one day. Her mother was furious and went on and on for about five minutes ranting and raving at the girl. Finally she stopped and asked, "Why were you late anyway?" To which the girl replied, "I was helping another girl in trouble." "What did you do for her?" asked the mother. "Oh, I just sat down beside her and helped her cry."
  • I Am the Resurrection and the Life

    by Mark Adams
    ("In his new book The Darkness and the Dawn, Charles Swindoll reminds us that in the 17th century London was stricken with a plague that was referred to by the people of that time as The Black Death. In May of 1664 it claimed its first few victims and by May of the next year 600 had died...")
  • Longing for More

    by Robert Allred
    ("Billy Graham once began his remarks with a story of how Albert Einstein in his old age could not find his train ticket when the conductor came by. The conductor said, "Dr. Einstein I know who you are and I am sure you bought a ticket so don't worry about it!" ...")
  • A Time To Cry

    by Robert Allred
    ("He was a tough old bird. I broke my ankle during scrimmage, and Coach growled; 'Drag him off!' I can't imagine him ever shedding a tear; however, he did produce some great championship football teams...")
  • Dem Bones Gonna Rise Again!

    by Mickey Anders
    ("In June of 1996, National Public Radio broadcast one of their series called Teenage Diaries in which they give a tape recorder to teenagers to document their lives. This particular episode was recorded by Ricky Sherman who was 14 years old, and it's entitled What if God.... I found the script on the NPR Web Site, and it has haunted me for months...")
  • Bonesets and Mindsets: Saving Our Necks among Other Parts

    by John Auer
    Baby Suggs, the “unchurched preacher” in Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved, “uncalled, unrobed, unanointed,” matriarch of the family, who made it out of slavery, calls all the family, the parts of the body, together deep in the woods. As they laugh, and dance, and cry, and dance, and laugh, and cry all at once, Baby Suggs offers up her great heart. “Here in this place,” she preaches, “we flesh; flesh that weeps, laughs; flesh that dances on bare feet in grass. Love it. Love it hard. Yonder, “as she recalls slavery, “Yonder they do not love your flesh. They despise it. They don’t love your eyes . . . No more do they love the skin on your back . . . And O my people they do not love your hands. Those they only use, tie, bind, chop off and leave empty. Love your hands! Love them. Raise them up and kiss them. Touch others with them, pat them together, stroke them on your face, for they don’t love that either. You got to love it, you!” She reaches the neck: “And O my people, out yonder, hear me, they do not love your neck unnoosed and straight. So love your neck....”
  • Responses of Faith

    by Gayle Bach-Watson
    ("Natalie Sleeth wrote the song we sang to open our time together this morning at a time when she was pon­der­ing her life, her husband's diagnosis of cancer, and the death of a friend – and when she was seriously ill with Multiple Sclerosis....")
  • Lent 5A (2005)

    by Sarah Dylan Breuer, from Angel Maker
    ("What Sara Maitland writes in the voice of a grieving mother in her short story Dragon Dreams strikes me as a psalm, a cry from the depths, that resonates with the longings of all of us who have seen grief...")
  • Enough to Make a Grown Man Cry

    by John Buchanan
    ("In his wonderful memoir Credo, William Sloane Coffin thinks out loud in the last chapter The End of Life, about death. Coffin, in his late 70's, is not well himself, so his words have an immediacy about them, and as always, they are wise and human and wry and playful...")
  • Weeping with One Eye

    by Thomas Lane Butts
    ("In the slums of Calcutta, India, thousands live on the streets. If they own a ragged blanket to spread over the place where they sleep, they feel lucky. Early each morning trucks come by to pick up the bodies of those who die in the night. Babies are born on the sidewalk and left in cardboard boxes....")
  • Easter and the Fear of Death

    by John Claypool
    ("Several years ago, very close to Easter time, I had a dream one night in which it seemed that I had died physically. Like so many of the near death experiences, I found myself moving through a cool, dark tunnel. And then I came out in what I can only describe as kindly light. I was accepted. I was embraced..." and another illustration)
  • Surely He Could Have Prevented This?

    by Daniel Clendenin
    ("as pastor Craig Barnes writes, no matter what your station in life, "heartache can, and will, find every address. It is only a matter of time," he writes "before all of the violence and heartache of the world comes for a visit....")
  • I Am the Resurrection And the Life

    by Adrian Dieleman
    ("In his book The Best is Yet to Be, Henry Durbanville told the story of a man who lay dying and was fearful, even though he was a born-again Christian. He expressed his feelings to his Christian doctor...")
  • Lent 5A (1996)

    by Mary Durkin
    ("A mother, exhausted after overseeing nine seven year old boys at her son's birthday party, decided to take a well-deserved nap. The birthday was a few days after the end of the holiday season, the second one since her father's death. When she awoke from the nap, she remained in bed, deciding to savor a few more moments of peace and quiet...")
  • Life in Place of Death

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("The Russian novelist, Feodor Dostoyevsky, has given a vivid account of his own confrontation with death. In December, 1848, when Dostoyevsky was 27 years old, he and 43 other students were arrested by the Russian secret police...")
  • More Powerful Than Death

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("The rays of a late morning sun struck me full on the face as I stepped through the door of the hospital. I had spent several hours with my sobbing wife. Now I was about to keep the appointment that would prove to be the emotional climax of the day my world collapsed...")
  • Comforting The Miserable

    by Bruce Goettsche
    ("Max Lucado has written, 'Tears. Those tiny drops of humanity. Those round, wet balls of fluid that tumble from our eyes, creep down our cheeks, and splash on the floor of our hearts.... They are always present at such times. They should be, that's their job. They are miniature messengers; on call twenty-four house a day to substitute for crippled words...")
  • Lent 5A (1999)

    by Andrew Greeley
  • Neither Bang Nor Whimper

    by Scott Hoezee
    ("As Time magazine recently pointed out, two famous twentieth century poets both weighed in on the subject of the universe's end. Robert Frost wrote, 'Some say the world will end in fire / Some say in ice. / I hold with those who favor fire.' On the other side T.S. Eliot wrote, 'This is the way the world ends / Not with a bang but a whimper.....")
  • Avoiding Death or Embracing Life?

    by Don Hoffman
    ("There was a merchant in Baghdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions, and in a little while the servant came back, white and trembling, and said, "Master, just now when I was in the market-place I was jostled by a woman in the crowd and when I turned I saw it was Death that jostled me...")
  • Being Resurrection People

    by Don Hoffman
    ("A prison chaplain preached at the church where I served and made a passing comment about the prison choir. Afterwards some members asked if it might be possible to have the choir sing for the church...")
  • New World Syndrome

    from Homiletics Online
    ("Micronesians dropping dead in their 50's are not dying for reasons commonly associated with the developing world. There is no famine here and little evidence of the diseases that cut life short in places such as Africa. The big killer is what some epidemiologists are now calling '' -- a constellation of maladies brought on by the assault of rapid Westernization on traditional cultures...")
  • Reflections on Lazarus

    by David Martyn
    The Roman historian Tacitus wrote about those who followed Jesus. “Nero looked around for a scapegoat, and inflicted the most fiendish tortures on a group of persons already hated by the people for their crimes. This was the sect known as Christians. Their founder, one Christus, had been put to death by the procurator Pontius Pilate in the reign of Tiberius. This checked the abominable superstition for a while, but it broke out again and spread, not merely through Judea, where it originated, but even to Rome itself, the great reservoir and collecting ground for every kind of depravity and filth. Those who confessed to being Christians were at once arrested, but on their testimony a great crowd of people were convicted…of hatred of the entire human race. They were put to death amid every kind of mockery. Dressed in the skins of wild beasts, they were torn to pieces by dogs, or were crucified, or burned to death: when night came, they served as human torches to provide lights. Nero threw open his gardens for this entertainment…These Christians were guilty and well deserved their fate.”...
  • Unbind Him and Let Him Go

    by Harold McNabb
    ("How is this for a reason to party! In the Saturday, September....whoops I cut the date off, edition of the Victoria Times Colonist, I came across this Headline: 'Dead Man Walks into His Own Funeral'. After miraculously surviving his own funeral, Dan Squire did what was, in his mind, the most sensible thing: he cracked open the first bottle at his wake...")
  • Lazarus Laughed

    Text of Play by Eugene O'Neill
  • Miracle or Obedience

    from Our Daily Bread
    "Jesus performed a mighty miracle in raising Lazarus from the dead. But He did not take away the stone from the door of the sepulcher, nor did He remove the grave clothes when His resurrected friend came out of the tomb, “bound hand and foot”. Commenting on this fact, J. Boyd Nicholson wrote, 'Standing before the grave of Lazarus, whose body was corrupting, the Lord demanded something of those who longed for a miracle..."
  • A Sure Hope In a Certain Death

    by John Pavelko
    ("A humorous story is told of a husband and wife who were the models of spiritual and physical health in their old age. They lived into their 90's but finally their bodies just wore out. It so happened that they both died within a few minutes of each other and so stood before the pearly gates together...")
  • Resentment

    by Gerry Pierse, C.Ss.R.
    ("Rey was an up and coming young executive. He was bright ambitious and hard working. He was also a religious fellow. He was searching for God and for deeper meaning in his life...")
  • Lord, If You Had Been Here

    by Michael Phillips
    ("Once upon a time, a woman was seated with a minister in the dining car of a train. Before she knew it, the two were engaged in conversation about her life. She felt comfortable sharing with this pastoral stranger...")
  • Inspired By the Lord

    by Stephen Portner
    ("Robert Capon told a whimsical illustration of how Jesus meets us where we are at. He said it is like when we are driving along and, for whatever reason, we end up in the ditch...")
  • Lion King: Unbound

    by Beth Quick
    ("Today, our song from The Lion King, Endless Night, finds Simba after he has left the Pridelands and begun his life with Timon and Pumbaa, feeling like he can't return to his own home. In this song, he sings of feeling lost and alone, without direction, and without hope for the future. Yet, by the end of the song, he seems to find some small piece of hope to hold onto...")
  • Lent 5A (2005)

    by Tammy Rider
    ("My sister Tracy was a beautiful child, with sun-kissed hair and a mile-wide smile. I was about eight years old when she joined our family, one among dozens of children my mother had cared for as a foster parent...")
  • Looking for Life in All the Wrong Places

    by Ron Ritchie
    There is an old song that keeps coming around, and I find myself from time to time humming the first line of the chorus after talking to people who are struggling with establishing or maintaining certain relationships. It is called Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places. Here are the first verse and the chorus: I spent a lifetime looking for you. Singles bars and good time lovers were never true. Playing a fool's game, hoping to win, And telling those sweet lies and losing again. I was looking for love in all the wrong places, Looking for love in too many faces. Searching their eyes, looking for traces of one I'm dreaming of, Hoping to find a friend and a lover. I'll bless the day I discover another heart, looking for love...
  • Facing the Mirror

    by Paul Rooney
    ("Mirrors are all the same, and yet they all have different purposes. They all 'show how things really are' – at least the 'exterior' view of things. For example, when you are driving, you always want to know exactly how close the traffic is behind you, or off to the sides in your blind spots. The Rear-View Mirror and the Side Mirrors assist in making those determinations....")
  • Whenever Jesus Shows Up

    by Wiley Stephens
    ("We envision a better world as Ann Weems wrote about in Reaching for the Rainbows: I keep reaching for the rainbows. Thinking one morning The hungry will be fed, The dying held,...")
  • Coming Unwound

    by Billy D. Strayhorn
    ("Alice Cooper was the first "shock rock" rock star. He used to parade on stage with makeup and live snakes and simulate his own decapitation. I never saw him. I never wanted to. But just like you, I've heard that his concerts were pretty raunchy and distasteful....")
  • A Dead Duck or a Soaring Eagle

    by Billy D. Strayhorn
    ("Remember the musical The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy's house was swept up by a horrible cyclone. When her house finally landed in Munchkin City, it landed right on top of an evil witch who had been tormenting the Munchkin people...")
  • Lent 5A

    by Michael Suden
    ("A long time ago, there was a little boy whose parents had just died. He was taken in by his aunt, who raised him as her own son. Years later, after he had grown up and had a family of his own, he received a letter from his aunt. She was dying ...")
  • Entering the Suffering of Others

    by Alex Thomas
    ("I have talked before about a book by Margaret Craven called I HEARD THE OWL CALL MY NAME. It was a heartwarming novel about a young priest who went into the Native mission of Kingcome up the coast of Canada...")
  • When the Roll Is Called

    by Mark Trotter
    ("When we were in Lima we visited the National Museum of Anthropology, a grand new modern building for housing the archeological artifacts and treasures that have been uncovered in that rich land...")
  • Post-Mortem Life

    by Leonard J. Vander Zee
    ("Nicholas Wolterstorff wrote a powerful and moving book after the death of his son Eric at age 24 in a mountain climbing accident. At one point he says, 'Elements of the gospel which I had always thought would console me did not. They did something else, something important, but not that...")
  • The Discouraged, the Hopeful

    by Tim Zingale
    ("Mrs. Anna Foss who lives near the tree with the plough in it explains how it happened. Her uncle, Christian Miller was a Danish immigrant and hired hand on the Andrew Leffingwell farm. For 3 days he tried to make the single-plough share scour as it should, but it did not work right. So it was leaned against the little scrub of an oak tree in a grove on a grassy knoll near the railroad track...")

Other Resources from 2017 to 2019

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tabâ€. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)

Other Resources from 2014 to 2016

Other Resources from 2011 to 2013

Other Resources from 2008 to 2010

Other Resources from 2005 to 2007

Other Resources from 2002 to 2004

Other Resources from 1999 to 2001

Other Resources from the Archives

Resources from the Bookstore

  • Untie Him

    by William J. Bausch, from Telling Stories, Compelling Stories

Children's Resources and Dramas

The Classics

Recursos en Español

Currently Unavailable

  • Lent 5C

    by Don Schwager
  • Lesson Plan

  • Between Life and Death

    by Chris Chivers
    ("I was so struck by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio's painting, The Raising of Lazarus - one of 16 works by Caravaggio which I saw a few days ago at the current National Gallery exhibition in London -- because I found that to contemplate this painting is actually already to have embraced that new life into which it beckons the viewer...")
  • Death Takes a Recess

    by Vincent Curtin, SJ
  • El Milagro Diario

    por Jose Hernandez
  • Resurrection Power

    by J. David Hoke
  • Did Lazarus Ever Listen?

    by Michael Kennedy
  • Coming to Life Again

    by Alex Thomas
    ("Coming to life again can take many forms. It could be like the story of Chris, a thirty eight year old woman at a mid life journey workshop who wrote about her life this way: 'Alice doesnt live here anymore. She left, and someone else has moved in. The new woman is something different from Alice! What a pleasant change! Alice kept the shades drawn the door locked, and was always crabby to her neighbors. She must have been a lonely and unhappy person! But the new tenant--Wow!..." and other illustrations and quotes)
  • Bethany, Part 3

    by Robert Murray McCheyne
  • Bethany, Part 4

    by Robert Murray McCheyne
  • Bethany, Part 5

    by Robert Murray McCheyne
  • Death

    by Rick Melheim
  • The Resurrection of Hope

    by W. Maynard Pittendreigh, Jr.
    ("I remember reading several years ago about an experiment that was conducted by the psychology department of Duke University. They wanted to see how long rats could swim. In one container they placed a rat for whom there was no possibility of escape..." and other illustrations)
  • Lent 5

    by John Pridmore
  • Cuaresma 5

    (de Renew Internacional)
  • Grief and Glory

    by Frederick Streets
  • Lent 5

    by Pat Umberger
  • Children's Literature

    from Union Presbyterian Seminary
  • Lent 5

    by Martin Warner
    ("Mark Stibbe has written an intriguing article about the story of Lazarus. It is called Tomb with a View, drawing on an allusion to E. M. Forster's popular novel — and the film — A Room with a View. At the end of the novel, Lucy Honeychurch has finally admitted her love for George Emerson, and speaks to him about her 'awakening'...")
  • Hopeful

    by Tim Zingale
    ("Ruele Howe tells about growing up with his parents in the country. When he was 15 years old, the house caught on fire. They escaped with only the clothes on their backs. There were no close neighbors to help so he and his father walked to a distant village to get supplies. As they returned they saw something that stayed with Ruele Howe all those years after...")
  • To Live Again

    by Alex Thomas
    ("In a video on the Diaconate ministry produced by the Episcopal Church called The Sign of the Servant, one of the deacons talked about his work as a deacon in reaching out to the poor, weak, sick and lonely. Some of the AIDS patients that he worked with were like that..." and other illustrations)
  • Comforting The Miserable

    by Bruce Goettsche
    ("Max Lucado has written, 'Tears. Those tiny drops of humanity. Those round, wet balls of fluid that tumble from our eyes, creep down our cheeks, and splash on the floor of our hearts.... They are always present at such times. They should be, that's their job. They are miniature messengers; on call twenty-four house a day to substitute for crippled words...")
  • I'm Stuck

    by Alex Thomas
    ("Frederick Buechner in one of his meditations in Listening to Your Life says: 'If I were called upon to state in a few words the essence of everything I was trying to say both as a novelist and as a preacher, it would be something like this: Listen to your life....")
  • Prepared to Die

    by Kathy Donley
    In 1966, The World Council of Churches met in Geneva, Switzerland. Christian leaders from all over the world had gathered for the Conference on Church and Society. The list of ethical issues they considered includes many still relevant today. Issues like economic justice, political responsibility, racism, gender relations, and coping with rapid technological change. People were especially looking forward to hearing the sermon that was to be delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But Dr. King sent his regrets. He cancelled his trip to Geneva because riots had erupted in Chicago and his presence was urgently needed there. Instead, he sent a video tape of a sermon to Geneva. One of the worshippers said, “Even more powerful that his sermon that day was the simple fact of the preacher’s absence.”...
  • Lent 5A (1996)

    by Mary Durkin
    ("A mother, exhausted after overseeing nine seven year old boys at her son's birthday party, decided to take a well-deserved nap. The birthday was a few days after the end of the holiday season, the second one since her father's death. When she awoke from the nap, she remained in bed, deciding to savor a few more moments of peace and quiet...")
  • Do You Believe This?

    by David Martyn
    ("I can still remember her, I will always remember her. I can't tell you here name, but will call her Rose, because she loved them. She was one of those many prairie women who were married to no good husbands. She would work hard, he would drink hard. She bore the children, he beat them. She went through divorce. Had problems with the children. She sunk lower and lower...")