Opening Prayer

We cannot dance, O Lord, unless you lead us. If it is your will, we can leap with joy. But you must show us how to dance and sing by dancing and singing yourself! With you we will leap towards love, and from love we will leap to truth, and from truth we will leap to joy, and then we shall leap beyond all human senses. There we will remain and dance for evermore.

— Mechtild of Magdeburg, 1210-1280


John 11:38-44 TNIV

Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. “Take away the stone,” he said.

“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave-clothes and let him go.”


Beside the dead I knelt for prayer,
and felt a presence as I prayed.
Lo! It was Jesus standing there.
He smiled “Be not afraid!”

“Lord, thou hast conquered death, we know;
restore again to life, I said,
“This one who died an hour ago.”
He smiled “She is not dead.”

“Asleep then, as thyself didst say;
yet thou canst lift the lids that keep
her prisoned eyes from ours away.”
He smiled “She doth not sleep.”
“Nay, then, tho’ haply she doth wake,
restore her to our hearts that ache.”
He smiled “She is not gone.”

“Alas! Too well we know our loss,
nor hope again our joy to touch,
until the stream of death we cross.”
He smiled “There is no such.”

“Yet our beloved seem so far,
the while we yearn to feel them near,
albeit with thee we trust they are.”
He smiled “And I am here.”

“Dear Lord, how shall we know that they
still walk unseen with us and thee,
nor sleep, nor wander far away?”
he smiled “Abide in me!”

—Rossiter Raymond, 1840-1918


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