Tuesday, April 14, 2009

turn that procession around

In this week's Bible lesson, Doctrine of Atonement, there is a touching and powerful scene. Jesus and his disciples, along with a crowd of those seeking to hear him and those clamoring for healing, came to the city of Nain. As they approached the gates, a sad sight appeared. A funeral procession. Jews did not bury their dead within the walls of a city. A young man, the only son of his mother, had died. She was already widowed and was now without protection and provision. A large number of people accompanied her on this sad walk. So two great crowds of people were able to converge and witness this event.

When Jesus saw her, he instantly knew her situation and had compassion for her. He speaks to her these words of comfort, "weep not". I'm sure many had tried to comfort her but his words held a much different meaning. Having addressed her, he now touched the bier and those bearing it stopped. Imagine the astonishment of those around him when he said to the young man, "Young man, I say unto thee, Arise". But that was nothing compared to their amazement when the young man, who all had accepted as dead, sat up and began to speak. Jesus had already raised many from beds of infirmity and pain, now he raised this young man from a funeral bier. To complete the healing, he delivers him to his mother. One can only imagine her reaction.

And with these few words and actions, Jesus completely reversed that procession leaving the city in sorrow and mourning to one of happiness and rejoicing. Surely, when he said 'arise' it rippled out to all of those present. They felt awe and wonder and word spread that a great prophet was among them. God had visited His people. Not just a prophet, but a great prophet for in their whole history only Elijah and Elishas had revived the dead. A long period of silence in the form of prophecy now came to a close. No prophets had appeared for centuries. So this story spread quickly throughout all Judea and all the region round about.

What I love about this is how the Christ completely reversed what appeared to be consuming everyone. That is how Christian Science operates. Use it with whatever grief or sadness or illness is causing you to feel like you are in a long walk of depression. Weep not. Stand still, stop moving forward with your problem. Don't continue down that path. Listen for the Christ telling you to arise, lift up your thought, see things differently. Be delivered whole and well and happy back to those who love you. No hands were needed to help that young man, he sat up on his own. No period of getting over whatever had caused him to die, he was able to speak normally. The problem had vanished. Health was restored. That procession turned around and went back into the city with a totally different feeling. You can do the same. Today.

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