Today's Reading: Luke 7:11-17
The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother (Luke 7:15).
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. No pension. No insurance. No retirement plan. No Social Security. The widow of Nain was left without family and without support for her physical needs. Her grief at losing her only son, whom she'd borne and loved, was compounded by losing her sole support as she grew old alone.
Almost all of us know someone in a similar condition. Some who read this today are feeling the pain of loss, knowing first hand that not only the elderly die, but also parents, siblings, even children. Others haven't seen close loved ones die, but divorce, job loss, or difficult financial situations threaten their homes or their family unity. Like the widow, some endure losing both loved ones and the security they provided.
We feel sorry for these people--or for ourselves, if we're the ones suffering. If often feels worse for Christians. Our God of love takes loved ones away. He promises us our daily bread, and our main support vanishes through layoffs, illness, injury, or death.
Such losses not only cripple those experiencing them, they also often paralyze the actions of family and friends. We watch, feel sorry, and don't know what to do. Such is the way of our sin-sick world.
Jesus, however, knew exactly what to do. When He felt compassion, He acted on it quickly and decisively. He restored the one earthly treasure this widow needed above all others. He undid another's death so this one might continue to have a good life.
His compassion continues today. Sometimes He acts miraculously, but He normally works through His people's vocations. His love overflows in the lives of His forgiven family and flows into the lives of others. As Christ acted in the widow's life, so His Church acts in the lives of its neighbors. The world receives testimony that sin, which brings decay and death, is being undone and new, full life belongs to all who believe in Him. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
O Lord, we pray that Your grace may always go before and follow after us, that we may be continually given to all good works; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever. Amen. (Collect for Trinity 16)