The Gospel today is from Luke 7 and recounts the story of Jesus’ encounter with a widow who had lost her only son. Jesus sees the large crowd around her and is filled with compassion. Then Jesus does something extraordinary and yet so very ordinary. He reaches out and touches the pallet where the dead man is and those bearing it stand still, perhaps waiting in expectation to see what this man they have heard about will do. Jesus tells the young man to rise. The dead man sits up and begins to speak. Can you imagine being that mother?
She is overcome with grief one minute and then in the next her son is returned to her. What was gone is now back. Not only her son, but as a widow, she also is returned fully to her place in the community with someone to care for her. The large crowd with her is stunned and they glorify God. When was the last time you went to a funeral and the deceased sat up?
I think most of us in life have had sorrow visit us. If not death, illness or loss of some kind. I have been listening to Glennon Doyle Melton of Momastery and Brene Brown teach an online course and love the phrase that Glennon coins–life is brutiful, a mix of brutal and beautiful. We cannot have one without the other usually and learning how to embrace this is the key to joy. The Gospel shows another key element to surviving the sorrow and stress of life–a large crowd of supporters. I am ever so grateful for those who remain with me on this adventure.
I was out with friends last night, sharing some of my thoughts about all that has happened in these months. I have begun to seek some advice about whether to begin a clinical trial if I am eligible. I have done well thus far, all things considered and a trial could change all that for the short-term. I have to weigh the benefits of how I want to spend the remainder of my life. I could be the dead woman sitting up if I do the trial. Alternatively, I could get really sick and my quality of life could be reduced. Without knowing any details, the discernment cannot really occur. I will not know if I am even eligible for another couple of months.
I bring my attention back to Jesus in the Gospel. Jesus is compassion. He reaches out and touches the pallet–or coffin in the American translation. Jesus is never far away from the suffering. His blood marks the path ahead as I prepare to pick up my cross. I will let his touch bring people to a stand still, while we wait to see what will happen next. I trust my Beloved to do the most merciful thing.
What act of compassion has Jesus done in your life?
Have you ever experienced the touch of Jesus and sat up after thinking you were a goner?
Jesus, Beloved Healer, reach out and touch the pallet I am on. May I respond with faith and sit up straight, praising your name and giving you glory. Guide my steps, Jesus, once I rise and return to life. May I never be the same. Amen.