Friday, May 20, 2011

Do not Weep

After he had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. Now a centurion had a servant who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him. When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.” And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well. Soon afterward he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!” And this report about him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country.Luke 7:1-17

"There's no crying in baseball!" Tom Hank proclaimed these words as he played a washed out big league manager assigned to a female professional team during the second world war. "A League of their Own" is one of my favorite movies because of lines like that. On some regular basis, as our daughters were growing up, we would proclaim, "there's no crying in baseball!" when someone broke into tears at an awkward and unnecessary moment. The irony is people cry all the time, even in baseball, and those women showed toughness that no male bravado could match. How can we not weep when our heart is broken? How can we not weep when we are overwhelmed with loss.

The widow was faced with overwhelming loss and sorrow. Her only child, her once precious little baby was taken from her and her heart was broken. Jesus does not say these words as if to silence the woman. He is not uncomfortable with her weeping. His authority was not challenged by her tears. He was moved by compassion to bring her a miracle of life restored. He could mend her heart by restoring her son and so he did. Plain and simple, he made it better for her. The boy was restored to his mother and began speaking - another miracle if he was like most teenagers I know. Jesus met her at the heart, in her deepest sorrow and brought back life where there was only loss and death.

Today I want to celebrate the many miracles in my life and the many, many times God has entered into my darkest places, into the heart of my need and found a way to restore life and hope. We are living in a world where people lose hope everyday. I ask God to give me the strength to reach out to those who are sinking from a broken heart and those who are inconsolable due to the weight of loss. May God use our hands, our hearts and our tears this day.

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