Thursday, July 17, 2008

Turn the parade around

There is an incident mentioned in this week's Bible lesson about Life that always moves me. Jesus and a throng of followers are about to enter the city of Nain. They are met with a heart-wrenching sight. Leaving the city is a funeral procession. Jews always bury their dead outside of the city walls. Heading for the cemetary is a crowd of mourners clustered around a grieving woman. This was her a mother who has already lost her husband and now must say goodbye to a beloved son. They must have been a respected and loved family for much of the city has come to be with her. This is a tragedy because without husband or son this woman will be alone and unprotected. Such was the way at those times.

Jesus has an interesting reaction and response. The Bible describes it this way: "And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her." He did more than feel pity at a distance, shaking his head at her misfortunes. He approached her and spoke to her. Hebrew men did not speak to women in public usually. This is what he said: "Weep not." Now what mother would not weep under these conditions. Whatever could he have been thinking. What he was thinking and knowing was soon apparent to all, who must have been able to hear and see what happened next. He leaves her, no doubt being supported by her friends, and turns to the bier. Those carrying it came to a stand still. With all eyes upon him, he speaks to the dead young man, "Young man, I say unto thee, Arise." I bet you could have heard a pin drop, or a growing murmur as his words were whispered from person to person. But before anyone could question Jesus, that young man sat up! And Jesus delivered him to his mother. He must have helped him get off that bed of death and handed him into the open arms of his mother.

Can you imagine how that scene changed! From a mourning procession, crying and wailing with grief, the whole party, intermingled with Jesus and his followers reversed direction and headed back into the city with great rejoicing. I'm sure there must have been many questions asked of the disciples as the crowd went back to the woman's house. Jesus completed turned that situation around.

That is what the Christ can do for you today. The active presence of divine Life, Truth and Love can completely turn around some situation you are facing. From the deeply dramatic to the simple everyday things that come up. Whatever it is, we can stop the procession of depressing thoughts, refuse to accept the presence of anything but God's goodness, and find our whole outlook uplifted and joyful. Are you facing a loss of some kind? Does disaster seem inevitable? Stop and wait on the Christ to come to you, this divine Comforter who feels nothing but compassion for you and refuses to leave you in that situation. Jesus restored what seemed gone forever. He had another view of true substance as spiritual and eternal. He understood that Life must express itself without end. Mrs. Eddy writes about it this way in the lesson: "Spiritual man is the image or idea of God, an idea which cannot be lost or separated from its divine Principle." Nothing can separate us from the love of Love.

Try it. Turn that procession around today.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There's one other thing I find interesting and that's not often noticed in this story, at least from a Jewish point of view. Jesus "touched the bier and they that bare him stood still."

The Jews believed that touching a dead person, or their personal effects, made one "unclean," requiring hours of ritual washing to set things right. This is why they buried people outside of the city - where Jesus met the procession - to avoid contact.

This thought was so strong that, during passover migrations, the Jews living along the way, would wash tombs close to traveling paths. This prevented travelers from inadvertently brushing their clothes on dirty tombs, an act that would have made them unclean and unable to participate in passover.

For Jesus to reach out and touch the bier must have been a shocking sight. It's no wonder the persons "baring" immediately stood still.

Jesus' works in this situation healed much more than a person having died, it directly confronted the unclean thinking of the time and raised thought as well.

He was pretty amazing, and thourough, wasn't he? ;)