There has been a lot of “No fair!” being said in my house this week.
“Mommy, it’s no fair he has the remote.” Followed by, “Mommy, it’s no fair that he got to bring you the mail.” The most salient “no fair” I heard, however, was during our short first grade religion lesson on Friday. My son was answering a question about what God told Nicodemus. The question said: “God told Nicodemus that his love was _____.” “Forever,” my son chimed in circling the choice. “Correct!” I shouted. As we moved onto the next one, however, he stopped me in my tracks by saying “That’s just no fair.”
“What’s not fair, honey?”
“It is no fair that God gets to be forever when I can’t.”
I went on to try to explain to him as best I could about heaven. I wanted him to know that there was a forever, it just didn’t look like his life now. As I spoke, he got super concerned about where his muscles and bones would go if he went to heaven someday. When I explained that one day we would all leave our bodies behind and be in heaven with God, he said again: “No fair! It’s just no fair that I can’t be all of me forever.”
Of course, there is this whole second coming thing when our bodies and souls are supposed to reunite, but I was not going that far with a first grader. Still, his “no fair” stopped me in my tracks. In this Sunday’s gospel, we see Lazarus do exactly what my son wanted – he came back body and soul to life again. He was raised from the dead by Jesus. So, I wonder, would my son say this is also “no fair”? I mean why does Lazarus get to come back. What makes him special and us not?
There is a lot of “no fair” going around right now. “No fair I can not leave my house!” or “No fair I have to be mom, wife, employee, and homeschooler!” or “No fair there still is no toilet paper on the darn shelves!” …. And seriously, no fair I have not had my favorite pork spare rib tips for two straight weeks now.
Or perhaps “no fair” that not everyone gets to stay home and stay well. Or “no fair” that some people have lost their jobs. Or “no fair” that despite being safe in our homes, there are still many homeless individuals lining the street without a place to shelter.
So perhaps this Sunday, many of us are feeling a bit “no fair” and asking Jesus where the “Lazarus” miracle is for us. When will our dreams be resurrected? When will our in-person relationships and livelihoods be restored?
But then we miss the point of Lazarus.
Jesus hurt for Lazarus and his family. In fact, the shortest sentence in the Gospel happens in this story. “Jesus wept.” He wept for his friend. He cried and probably thought a little bit “no fair” that his friend had died before Jesus even got close to say good-bye.
Yes, Jesus did raise Lazarus from the dead. He did it, however, as a sign of the promise of eternal life with Him. Lazarus was a sign. The point of Lazarus is to have faith. The point is to believe that this moment in time is, in fact, temporary. The point is to show us that the Kingdom of Heaven is real. And that God’s love lives forever in us as we live forever in God.
So go ahead and call “no fair” right now – I know I am. Stomp your feet and be upset when the spirit moves you. But at some point, we have to also allow ourselves to hear the truth of the story of Lazarus – that God has not left us to face our perils alone. And that there is, in all fairness, so much more to come.