All Saints Tide- Sermon 152

13th February 2011 Off By Derek Buckthorpe

Bible References :

Prayer to Start

May the words of my lips and the thought of our hearts be graciously received for the Glory and Honour of our Lord Jesus Christ




Thank you for being near at this time of suffering Lord – for without you it would be more than I could bear

Your comforting presence calms and strengthens – you provide short periods of relief – and help me regain my bearings and my thoughts –

I don’t see any purpose to my pain Lord – I want you to remove it – yet it still remains – the tears I shed are beyond measure –

Even though I grieve – I feel your love

An extract from a devotional –by Anita Donihue

Point 1 –    Lamentations – Grief & Hope


Grief comes – when someone disappoints us – when we lose something or someone we care about –when we lose our health – or if someone we love is sick –

The greatest grief is perhaps when we lose a parent- a partner or a spouse – or even worst – a child –

We associate grief with emptiness – loneliness – shock – depression –

Our OT reading – is an extract from one of five Laments or poems – written – possibly – by Jeremiah – after –he had just seen – the siege and destruction of Jerusalem –

The Babylonian army had burned and destroyed all the principal buildings – and carried off most of the surviving inhabitants to exile –

A whole city had been – destroyed – brothers – sisters- friends – all gone – and the bodies that were left – barely recognizable –

his pain darkens every line –

Yet although – astonished and grief stricken – he never doubts God’s justice – and – within the lines of our passage he expresses a quiet hope –

‘The Lord’s love is surely not exhausted – nor His compassion failed – they are new every morning – so great is His constancy’

‘ The Lord may punish yet He will have compassion – in the fullness of His unfailing love – He does not willingly afflict or punish any one’

Jeremiah understands – that – Jerusalem’s present sufferings will pass away – that – they do not represent God’s final purpose – that His people will be freed from their – present bondage – they just need to trust in God’s mercy – to help see them through

And its the same for us –

Valleys are inevitable in life – and some will be deeper than others – no one is immune from them – but trusting in God will enable us to – emerge – with a faithful friend by our side –

God’s faithfulness is at the very core of His nature – His steadfast love never ceases – His mercy is limitless – and His compassion knows no bounds


Point 2  Jesus raises Lazarus


In our NT lesson – Jesus is called to help His friend Lazarus – but when He arrives – Lazarus has already been dead for four days –

When Jesus – sees Mary and those around her – weeping –He burst into tears – His outpouring of grief was open – for all to see-

People – show – their grief – in different ways –
in some parts of the world – as they did in Jesus’ day – its through cries – and wails – one persons grief can quickly spread to another – and whole crowds can be affected

In today’s western culture – we have perhaps learned to hide our emotions – more –

when faced with a sudden loss – we try to carry on – regardless – not wanting anyone else to be upset – by our reactions –

Sometimes – we are tempted to think how wonderful life would be if there were no pain – but – as unwelcome as it is – without it – we have no warning of the danger – that pain provides –

The family of Lazarus – were clearly in pain – they had watched Him die – seen him sealed in a tomb – all hope of recovery had gone – yet suddenly Jesus – was here – and there was hope –

Jesus – prays to the Father – and ordered – the stone to be rolled away –

moments later – Lazarus was there before them – alive and well –

For Lazarus and his family – it was a temporary reprieve – a blessing – of a few more years – brought to them by God

For Jesus – it was a pointer – to – things to come – to the empty tomb – and His ultimate triumph over death – a pointer to the resurrection – and the promise of new life for all eternity – for all who follow Him –

We do not understand what form that life –will take – but thankfully – it doesn’t depend on our faith – but rests solely with Jesus Christ – the one who alone can say – ‘I am the resurrection and the life’


Jesus calls Lazarus out of the tomb – to demonstrate that He has power- over life – and death – that His kingdom is not of this world – but of the next – and we are invited – to follow and join Him –

Today – God is calling us out of our tomb – out of our darkness – into His Son’s light – to feast on His presence – to put our trust in the life- death and resurrection of Jesus – for its only through – the steadfast love and power – faith and the prayer of Jesus – that our true Hope and comfort can be realized


Lord sometimes – we can’t get to grips with things – and the world seems to be getting out of hand – At least it seems that way
Suffering is OK in theory – when we can look at it from a distance – admire the patience and courage of others – But when it comes down to our flesh and blood –our own body and mind – its different
When our hopes are shattered – and things don’t go according to plan – and we have to wait and endure

And then we realise hope is never far away – nor buried in a tomb – it doesn’t wait until tomorrow
Hope is here now – today – in Jesus –
Sharing – taking the weight – the stress – not watching from the sidelines – but suffering with us
Although – we wish you would answer more of our questions – we know that Jesus’ presence takes care of them – not in logic – but in love