Those two words jumped out at me today as I joined the Bishop of Edinburgh for the online service from his home. These simple online services that bring worship, word and witness into our homes are, for those who are fortunate to be able to see them, very comforting and oddly moving.
The phrase “come and see” is part of the Gospel reading for today and comes from John 11 -the account of the raising of Lazarus. Jesus has arrived too late to save his friend it would seem. He finds Lazarus’ sisters weeping and asks where the body has been laid. “Come and see” they say to him. Jesus follows them to the tomb, greatly moved and disturbed in spirit. He sees the grief and tears, he hears the anguish and sorrow. Then, in two of the most powerful words in the Bible, we read:
For the last few days, I have had an image. It is of Jesus walking the streets of our empty towns. It is of Jesus walking in our deserted schools and playgrounds, in our empty businesses and offices. It is of Jesus walking in our care homes and hospitals. It is of Jesus in intensive care units all over the world. It is of Jesus in morgues and at gravesides. And in each place, Jesus is weeping.
Jesus weeps with those who weep today in fear, sorrow and uncertainty. He weeps with those exhausted, mentally and physically on the medical font line. He weeps with those who cannot visit their loved ones in hospital. He weeps with those who are alone and those who are far from family. Jesus weeps with those who weep today.
It is a profound moment in the life of Jesus as he shares our human sorrow and grief. And we, as his disciples, are called also to share one another’s sorrows, to bear one another’s burdens, to weep with those who weep. (Romans 12 v 15). Like many of you I am sure, I have found myself in tears at times this week seeing the heartache and grief and fear that is stalking our world. I have also been moved to tears by the courage of so many doctors and nurses, carers and front line workers. By the goodness and community spirit shown, by the simple acts of kindness and humanity shining through. The psalmist gives us that lovely image of God watching over us and gathering all our tears into a bottle. Christ weeps with us and keeps count of all our sorrows.
But the phrase. “come and see” also comes at another crucial place in the Bible.. It comes at the tomb on Easter morning. The women come to grieve at the tomb of Jesus, to weep and mourn. But they are met by an angel of the Lord who says:
“Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has ben raised, as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.”
Come and see-see the risen Lord Jesus, the one who has conquered death is here. Come and see -the one who loves you and who is alive for evermore is present with you now. Come and see the one who can bring healing and hope to the fearful and comfort to those who mourn. Come and see- for the one who walks our town and villages in tears is also the risen Lord who brings new life, hope and the promise of peace. Come and see, for the door is open wide and Jesus waits for you.
Come and see
“Do not be afraid, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I was dead and see! I am alive for ever and ever.” Revelation 1 v 17