The question of Lazarus

“Tell me, mortal,
can these dry bones live?”
Lazarus, coughing and blinking
replies, or would
if breath permits,
“You know, O Lord.”

He is remembering forward
and backward; eternity
has infected him. He lies
among dry bones, rattled
by the breeze, scenting
the air with the horror
of war. He sits
vigil inside an empty tomb,
wondering whose
winding cloth is folded
at his feet while his tongue
still tastes cotton.

“Tell me, Son of Man,”
he replies,
“what is bone
what is breath
what is life?”
his lips susurrant
with echoes of the trials
that precede resurrection.


The readings for the Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year A include:

The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” (Ezekiel 37:1-3)

Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” (John 11:38-44)

This entry was posted in lectionary reflection, poetry and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s