Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the thoughts and words of this reading that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
Luke 7:11-16 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
11 Soon afterwards[a] he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went with him. 12 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. 13 When the Lord saw her, he had compassion for her and said to her, “Do not weep.” 14 Then he came forward and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, rise!” 15 The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus[b] gave him to his mother. 16 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!”
Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today
L. Dykes was my pastor at First United Methodist Church at Shreveport when I was a teenager. I remember a story he told of a seminary friend of his who, when they graduated from seminary, went to serve a small church and made the decision upon being appointed to that church that everything he did he would do in the pattern of Jesus’ ministry. So when his first pastoral visit came up, he looked in the gospels to see how Jesus dealt with people in need. Even when an administrative matter would come up, he would remember how in the gospels Jesus sent people out. He delegated, he administered by giving ministry to his disciples to do and he sent them out.
But when it came time for his first funeral, he realized that he had no pattern from Jesus because Jesus never conducted a funeral. In fact, he discovered, Jesus only conducted resurrections. Jesus’ ministry as he went about healing and touching people and teaching people only was about resurrection.
Now think about that for a moment. When Christ came into the life of someone in the gospel, there was resurrection. Sometimes, it was dramatic like the raising of his friend Lazarus or the daughter of the leader of a synagogue or the widow’s son in Luke 7. But, more often, it was resurrection from sin, resurrection from a tomb of guilt and shame, resurrection from a life of deadly apathy, resurrection from oppression and captivity, resurrection from a death of hope or resurrection from loneliness and separation from other people and from God. Jesus was constantly about the business of resurrection, of new life, of new beginnings.
The Apostle Paul put it this way: “From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.”
There is a lot of theology woven into hymns. To enhance today’s reading, I recommend listening to “Abide with Me”. I hope you will take a few moments to let the words of this message and the emotion that always connects us to music connect with your soul. I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster