Hear the words of Scripture: “Jesus began to weep. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
Jesus weeps because Lazarus was worth loving and Lazarus is worth weeping over. As are Mary and Martha. As are you and me. Jesus weeps because of his incredible love for each of us, we are worth loving and we are worth weeping over.
Laments and tears and weeping and groaning are all love songs.
And our greatest love, our God weeps. In the words of Duke Chapel Dean Luke Powery, whose words deeply influenced this entire sermon: “God is [always] there, weeping right alongside everyone else just as we are called to weep with those who weep, to be a communion of modern day saints through a spirituality of weeping. God joins the company of suffering and opens himself to the wounds of the world. When God weeps God suffers with the suffering world.”
Jesus wept, so why aren’t we? Because there is a world that is worth weeping over.
A world where currently 34,000 people are forcibly driven out of their homelands everyday because of violence, conflict and war… who leave their homes not for an adventure or a trip, but because leaving their homes and risking death by drowning or hunger are the only options they have if they want to stay alive…. And for this we should weep church.
A world where prejudice and racism is still rearing it’s ugly heads, a world where Jewish cemeteries are the target of hate crimes, a world where Mosques are burned down, a world where black parents have to teach their children what areas of town they can and can’t walk in without fear of being shot…. And for this we should weep church.
A world where bigotry still exists and there are still LGBT individuals who are not accepted in their homes, a world where churches still preach their very being is sinful and where they are still not welcomed, a world where their discrimination is legal, a world that is missing the beauty of all people…. And for this we should weep church.
A city where homelessness is becoming epidemic, where homeless sisters and brothers sleep on our doorsteps and we as a church can’t figure out what our job is to do in that place or even worse we simply ignore it….And for this we should weep church.
A world where one in five women will be raped in their lifetime and one in four girls will be sexually abused. A world where the campus just down the street just released a study that 15% of their students have been raped during their college years. A world full of violence and abuse for an entire gender…. And for this we should weep church.
A world where division has become the norm and where everywhere you turn there are false binaries dividing us, a world where we have lost the common good, a world where we even allow issues of justice to divide us…. And for this we should weep church.
A world where a child dies every 21 seconds from diseases related to not having access to clean water. A world where every 4 seconds a person dies because of hunger related illness…. And for this we should weep church.
A world full of addiction to alcohol and drugs and pornography and power and money…. And for this we should weep church.
A world full of depression and suicide and low self esteem… And for this we should weep church.
A world of oppression and systems of oppression that seem to grow stronger every day…. And for this we should weep church.
A world still full of cancer and heart failure and car accidents and Alzheimer’s…. And for this we should weep church.
A world where a bus full of senior adults on a church outing is hit ad 12 are killed…A world where our morning emails still arrive with a message from our mom that they are in the ambulance with our dad, emails that change our lives forever…. A world where friends fail us…. A world where our spouses cheat on us…. A world where it seems that we are often just a few steps away from falling apart… A world where our bosses call us into their office and we leave unemployed….A world where things don’t always go the way we want them to go and a world that often hurts like hell…. And for this we should weep church.
A world where death still has a hold on us…. And for this we should weep church.
A world that is still not fully yet the promised Kingdom of God… And for this we should weep church.
So may we weep, because it is only in weeping that we may hear the words of salvation: “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.”
Weeping leads to hope. Weeping is holy. Weeping is the way of Jesus. Weeping just may be the most true thing the church community can do together.
So sisters and brothers, may we weep as Jesus wept. May we follow in his example and may the tears flow as baptismal waters for our world.