Stop and thank God for being present with you today. Ask for God’s guidance as you hear God’s voice through scripture and the writer.
Luke 7:11-17 (NRSV)
Soon afterwards he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went with him. As he approached the gate of the town, a man who had died was being carried out. He was his mother’s only son, and she was a widow; and with her was a large crowd from the town. When the Lord saw her, he had compassion for her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Then he came forward and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, rise!” The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Fear seized all of them; and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has risen among us!” and “God has looked favorably on his people!” This word about him spread throughout Judea and all the surrounding country.
A funeral director once told me his job was to erase all signs of death through the use of makeup, lighting, etc. He explained that people don’t want to be reminded of death at their loved one’s visitation. He never saw the irony of his statement!
In Luke 7 Jesus confronts death head on. He doesn’t stop to worry about issues of ritual uncleanness. His compassion is totally centered upon a grieving mother who has not only lost her son, but also her only financial security. Jesus entered the situation and changed things, thus loosening the grip that death had on this family.
Bringing life is what Jesus is about. There is no ignoring death or any effort to be insulated from it. Jesus sees death as the force contrary to God’s will and acts to overcome it. In the end, his whole life will be about that one thing, overcoming the power of death and bringing new life. Jesus restores the natural order of things. He may not keep all children from dying before their parents, but he does restore the power of life over death and the power of God over everything else in all creation.
God of life, even though we are filled with the breath of life, we know that one day it will be extinguished. Even though we understand death to be a part of life, we fear it and do all we can to avoid it. Take away, loving God, our fear of dealing with death. Help us to see in it a natural completion and transition. And help us to believe what you teach: you are a God of life, you love to bring new chances to those who have failed to live rightly, and you bring new and everlasting breath to all who die in faith. Let us live in the sunlight of your love and not fear the shadow of death. We pray in the name of the One who brings new life, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Go with God.