When Jesus Wept
A Drama for Lent Five, Year A
Based on John 11:1-45
Mary: He was born long after Martha and I were, the child of our father’s old age.
Martha: His own mother died bringing him into the world, and we became his mothers, feeding him, washing him—
Mary: –singing to him, playing with him.
Martha: You can see how we divided the work.
Mary: He was still a very young man when our father died, but old enough that we could remain under his protection.
Martha: His protection! It sounds so funny, since we still took care of him.
Mary: But what mattered was that we could still be together, that we could still be a family.
Lazarus: All my life I had the two of them. Martha worked so hard and could be a little gruff, but I knew she loved me and that I could rely on her. Mary was softer, quieter, more likely to smile. Still, when Martha laughs, you want to laugh with her.
Martha and Mary: He was the light of our lives.
Lazarus: When I misbehaved, as boys will do, Mary was quicker to forgive, but Martha was quicker to forget.
Martha and Mary: The light of our lives.
Lazarus: I went to hear a teacher, and I invited him home to dinner. Martha was in charge of the meal, of course. Mary sat with him, listening to his stories, stories that held the truth about our God and how we are to live. We all have our parts to play.
Martha: The teacher brought a big crowd with him. It was hard to sort out who was really with him and send the local folk home again.
Mary: I couldn’t take my eyes off the teacher.
Lazarus: Soon we called him “friend” and “brother.” He became as dear to us—
Martha, Mary, Lazarus: –as we are to each other.
Martha: When Lazarus fell ill, I could see that it was bad. I sent for Jesus.
Mary: We waited and waited, but he did not come. Where was he?
Martha: Where was he?
Lazarus: I remember lying on the bed, restless and hot. Where was he? Where was my friend?
Mary: His fever was high.
Martha: And so was mine, the fever of frustration that our friend and teacher, who I knew to be a healer, had not come to us, had not come to help Lazarus.
Lazarus: I died.
Mary: Martha took charge.
Martha: Mary cried and cried, but I had too much to do. There was no time for crying.
Lazarus: Somehow I could see them, the neighbors bustling around, Mary weeping quietly in a corner of the room, and Martha, dear Martha, making sure that everything was done in accordance with the law. I was with them, but not with them, could hear them, but couldn’t speak. I felt their sorrow, but not my pain.
Martha: We laid him in the tomb. Four days went by.
Mary: Four dark days.
Martha: And then someone came to tell us that Jesus was on the way. Now I was angry. I went out to meet him.
Lazarus: I saw them meet, but I felt nothing.
Martha: Jesus, I said, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.
Lazarus: He answered her, “Your brother will rise again.” They seemed so far away, yet I was with them.
Martha: I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.
Lazarus: Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Martha: Of course I believed! Why else would I have been so sure that he could heal my brother? But now Lazarus was dead and beyond all help. I told him what I believed, that he is the Messiah, the Son of God, the One coming into the world.
Mary: Then Martha came to me.
Martha: The teacher is here and he is calling for you.
Mary: No one in the house knew where I was going, but they followed me as I went to Jesus. I couldn’t stop crying. I told him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” I knew that was true.
Lazarus: “Where have you laid him?” I was so close to them, but not.
Martha and Mary: Lord, come and see.
Lazarus: Jesus wept.
Mary: Oh, how he wept. He loved our brother.
Martha: We led him to the tomb. It was a cave, with a stone against the entrance. He said, “Take the stone away.” I told him, Lord, he has been in there four days, surely there will be a stench.
Mary: But he reproached her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”
Martha: Did he not tell me? I had some neighbors roll the stone away.
Mary: Jesus said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.”
Martha: Then he cried, “Lazarus, come out!”
Mary: “Lazarus, come out!”
Lazarus: Come out! I heard his voice. This time it was not as in a dream or through a mist, or even clearly as if he stood beside me, but through my own ears, wrapped tight in a cloth. I knew his voice.
Martha: Our brother walked out of his tomb.
Lazarus: As they unwrapped the cloths, I could hear the rustle of many people. When my head was free, I saw only one face, still wet with tears. I stepped forward, and stumbled. It was Martha who caught my arm and Mary who smiled at me.
Mary: Soon so many more people believed in him—
Martha: Believed what I already knew! And how could they not believe?
Mary: Our little brother was returned to us.
Martha: Our brother who was dead is living.
Lazarus: I am alive because I heard his voice. He called to me. I rose up and followed.
Mary: He calls to me even now and I feel him in my heart.
Martha: Even now I hear his voice and I know what to do.
Lazarus: Listen. He calls to you.