In the midst of the funeral procession what did the crowd think would happen tomorrow? Were they thinking about the widow at all? Were they just performing their duty to carry the body? Where would this large crowd be when this son-less widow was hungry?
It is easy to show up for the big events. People want to help immediately after a tragedy or natural disaster. But to be there for people in the days and weeks to follow, when the crowds and camera crews move on, that is ministry. I remember well visiting a parishioner whose wife had died a year ago. He was so grateful as he shared with me cards he received from friends and church members on the anniversary of her death. Cards that reminded him he was not forgotten.
Jesus' ministry cares for the widow's future. He provides her with her son again. That is his gift. Perhaps we cannot raise someone from the dead in that dramatic fashion, but we can provide for their future. Through ongoing prayer, support and comfort, long after the funeral procession has passed we do the work of the kingdom.
Sustaining God, you walk with us each and everyday. Through the joys and sorrows of life you are with us, sustaining and providing for us. Help us to carry that ministry on to others. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Luke 7:11-17 (NRSV)
11 Soon afterwards 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 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!"
17 This word about him spread throughout Judea and all the surrounding country.