Jesus wept. I find a lot of comfort in these two words this week as I mourn with our community at the deaths of young people in Central and North Kitsap School Districts. Hearing the wails of cheerleader sisters and seeing the shaking huddles of football brothers brings one to the depths of anguish. As we gathered for vigil and mutual support last Sunday night, we were gathered into the embrace of Christ, whose heart, in the midst of tragedy, is always the first to break.
Jesus comes near the grave site of his friend, Lazarus, and he cannot contain himself. In the midst of sorrow and anger and questions and blame from his friends, Mary and Martha, and from the presence of all those mourning, Jesus, it says, is deeply moved – overcome with grief. And he weeps. He doesn’t correct Martha and Mary as they challenge him. He doesn’t seize the opportunity in that moment to teach the people or to lecture them on how they might learn something from Lazarus’ death. He doesn’t push them to move on. No, Jesus stands with the people in the moment, remembering his friend – God’s child – and he weeps. Most pictures of this moment show Jesus weeping by himself, but I don’t imagine that’s how it went down. I actually see it more like this picture http://iocproject.ning.com/photo/jesus-wept-2?context=popular , which shows Jesus embracing someone as he weeps. The salt of the Savior’s tears flowing into the hair of the one he holds, the sobs fully shared by the Creator.
I don’t have a punchline or a clever point to neatly conclude this post. Just as I was at a loss for words on Sunday night, so I imagine this as more of a time for shared tears and embraces than words. And so I hold on to the image of Jesus holding on to me, to our young people, to the family and friends of those who died, to the family of the driver of the car, and to the family of the boy who took his life. In this weekend of sorrow, I cling to Christ’s embrace and share in his tears as he shares in ours.