Seeking the Dead by Lorraine Triggs

A few weeks ago, I decided to check to see what spring bulbs were coming up on the north side of the house. I had my head down, eyes on the ground, intent on finding any signs of life. Instead I spotted a clump of gray feathers, and then the dead bird.

Gross, yuck. Look no more. I hurried around to the front of the house with my head up and eyes on the horizon, or at least looking down the street at the recycling truck picking up the bins.

After more than two decades of homeownership, I wonder if I am a magnet for creatures, dead or living. The baby bunny I respectfully covered with an overturned clay pot till my husband came home to bury it. The racoon resting on the whole house fan. The dead chipmunk in the laundry room. And it's not just me. I also know about ducks in a home study and exotic tropical creatures who partnered with missionaries in Ecuador. Or my niece Holly who took in an injured crow who became "Alfred," one of their many very-much-alive house pets.

It’s highly unlikely that Zillow would list “magnet for dead or living creatures” as any home’s selling point.

Good thing Zillow wasn’t around in Jesus’ days, especially with his attraction to dead creatures—Jairus and his daughter, Lazarus, us.

In Mark 5, Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, falls at Jesus’ feet and begs him to come to his daughter who was at the point of death. As Jesus and this influencer head off, they are interrupted by a needy woman, a non-influencer, who had spent all her money on doctors and “was no better but rather grew worse.” (Mark 5:26) Though not physically dead, she needed healing and new life, and finds both in Jesus.

Meanwhile, people came from Jairus’ house with tragic news—his daughter was dead.

Why bother Jesus anymore. It’s too late. She’s dead. Nothing more to be done. How many do we write off as hopelessly lost, too late for the touch of Jesus to make any difference.

But I think Jesus’ ears must have perked up. Come on, Jairus, let’s get to your house. Your daughter is dead, yes, well, not for long.

When it was just Jesus, Jairus, his wife and their dead daughter, Jesus gently says, “Little girl, arise,” and now it was Jairus, his wife and their breathing, living, daughter breathing, living, walking.

And just in case you’re tempted to mix up the Lazarus in John 11 with someone else in the New Testament, the gospel writer John describes him as the one whom Jesus raised from the dead. Yes, this Lazarus, who had died and walked out of his tomb, grave clothes and all when he heard Jesus say, “Lazarus, come out.”

Then there's the women who came to Jesus’ tomb on that first day of the week. Deep in grief, they expected to find a dead body. Instead they encountered angels who asked them why they were seeking the living among the dead. Really? You expected to find Jesus still dead after three days?

And in true Resurrection paradox, it’s this living Jesus who seeks out those who are dead in their sins and turns every day into Easter with his gentle graced words:

Little girl, arise.

Lazarus, come out.

Dead in sin be made alive.