In the Lectionary

November 1, All Saints B (John 11:32-44)

What does it mean that Jesus weeps, when he knows Lazarus will be raised from the dead?

The time had finally come. I had been dreading this day for weeks but could not put it off any longer. Our old faithful dog, Waco—named for the city where my wife and I met—had suffered long enough. As I drove to the animal hospital, I reflected on the 11 years that had passed since we rescued her. Waco weighed only 20 pounds, but she had at least 100 pounds of personality. She intimidated all the bigger dogs in the neighborhood with her intensity and high-pitched barking, but with our young children, she was always patient and gentle.

Now, Waco—struggling to breathe and barely able to rise—needed the final mercy we could offer her. As I drove down the country highway, I lowered the window so she could enjoy the breeze one last time. To my surprise, she rose unsteadily, leaned forward, and extended her nose into the wind. She closed her eyes as her ears flapped back, and a hot stream of tears began running down my cheeks.

I was an emotional wreck by the time we arrived. Our veterinarian was an older man who did not typically show much emotion, but on that day he reached out, placed his hand on mine, and assured me that “it was time.” I looked up at him and was startled to see tears in his eyes as well.