One commentator has written this: The Spirit is the divine principle of life in the new order which God has created through Christ. To be “in Christ” is to belong to this new order and thus to know the Spirit, who is the actual presence of God among us and in our hearts. To “live in the Spirit” is to belong to the new community of faith where God dwells as the Spirit.”Note the similar, almost interchangeable, use by Paul of “the Spirit of God”, “The Spirit of Christ” and “Christ”. It took three hundred years after Paul for the leaders of the Church to declare that Christ, the Son of God, and the Holy Spirit were of one being with the God whom Jesus called Father, in the statement of faith in the Trinity that the Church today still calls the Nicene Creed, after the place, Nicaea, where the leaders met to work out the wording of the Creed. With St Paul’s words we also have the story of Lazarus told by St John in the fourth Gospel, another rich source of food for our reflection, food for our journey. The story first makes clear that Jesus’ humanity is real. His love for his dead friend Lazarus and for the sisters Martha and Mary is manifest. As we read the story our expectation is aroused by the resurrection hope of the sisters – belief in the resurrection at the last day was widespread among pious Jews in Jesus’ day. The tentative faith of the onlookers and Jesus’ saying “I am the resurrection and the life – those who believe in me, though they die, yet shall they live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die” – this heightens our expectation as we read the story; Jesus prays; this shows his dependence on the God whom he calls Father. The meaning, for St John, of the story of the raising to life of Lazarus is this: Jesus in his obedience to and dependence on the Father has the authority to give life to whom he will. The incident is a dramatic demonstration of the truth stated by John in an earlier chapter: Jesus, speaking to the Jews, says, “The Son can do nothing of his own account, but only what he sees the Father doing, for whatever he does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son, and shows him all that he himself is doing. For as the Father raised the dead and gave them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will.” In this story, then, St John is making clear to his readers both that Jesus’ humanity is real – he shows his love for his friends – he weeps – and that Jesus is completely at one with God his Father in mind, will, purpose, at one with God his Father in mind, will, purpose and action. One commentator has said this: “The raising of Lazarus is no piece of black magic, or even the supreme achievement of a saint: it is an anticipation of what is to happen on the last day.” What are we to make of this? Possibly, we all have friends who don’t share our faith. Or we may have met people who say “I don’t believe in God, I don’t believe in miracles”. In the case of Lazarus, we can’t say that we know what happened. But we can understand that the Gospel writers are offering us theology, teaching us their insight into the character of God as he is revealed in Jesus Christ. And even our atheist friends have to admit with us that we didn’t make the world – it is a gift – they may say it’s all happened by chance, random, but Christians will say with that great theologian Maurice Wiles “it is a miracle that anything exists”. And atheists will surely agree with us that in spite of our mistreatment of earth, air and water and the environment, and our fellow human beings, the universe, including our part of it, is still beautiful . Christians can say “Life is a gift, God is the giver of all that is good, the universe has meaning and purpose, evidence of the mind of God.” We can also say this. We worship God, Creator, Redeemer, Giver of New Life, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, because this is the God whom Jesus Christ has revealed to us and to all who have gone before us. And the life-giving Word found in the writing of St Paul and St John and through the Scriptures is the record of Christ’s revelation. Friends, we have food for our journey of joy and freedom as we move forward and anticipate the joy of the new life of Easter, the gift of eternal life here, now and always. Thanks be to God.