'Please God be with them'
Luke 7 11-17
Every time something happens around the world or here in our own country, earthquakes, hunger, war, floods, terrorism – it is posted on the television or on the web.
When things happen far away it is easier to be detached but there are times when things touch you, that it reaches into your heart and you are moved to do something, anything to help.
When we had floods a couple of years ago in this country, I was touched by the farmers helping each other, not always from close by. Sending trucks to move animals etc.
The widow of Naim was going through her darkest hour. She must have felt completely alone in the world. Hers was a unique loneliness, that only time, support and friendship could fill. We all have our dark hours from time to time. Sometimes we can genuinely feel totally alone in the mist of the crowds. It is at such times that we should invite Jesus to enter that emptiness, and fill it with his love and healing. He is only too willing and pleased to do this, and is always delighted to be invited.
Jesus came that we should have life, and have it more richly. There can be many areas in our lives that are quite inactive, and fruitless. There are times when we can feel as dry as the desert. It is at such times that we can reflect on the Spirit being like a fountain of living water, rising up from within us. Beneath the driest desert there is plenty of water, but it is only the rare spot that allows the water reach the surface. We can be an oasis in the lives of others. There are many people around us that we can reach out to or pray for, those that are grieving, like the widow of Naim are just one example.
Jesus met the funeral, and saw the sorrowing widow, I’m sure most of us have seen such a scene, or at least read about it in the papers, or saw it on t.v. What can we do when someone is so upset and in such grief, you can feel a sense of powerlessness to do anything, knowing that there are no words that will help take away that sorrow; Somewhere within our hearts we many whisper a prayer, ‘God help her’ for we know that God is never far away from such grief and suffering.
When Jesus saw the poor widow, we are told that ‘his heart overflowed with compassion’. There was no way he could pass her by. Her situation reached into his heart. Jesus saw the situation, and rather than have a long conversation with the mother, he went straight to those carrying the dead body and asked them to stop. He then took the young man by the hand and spoke directly to him. We are then told the young man sat up immediately and began to talk. The next thing is that Jesus gave him back to his mother, and he went on his way.
We are told a great fear swept the crowd. They were in the presence of some awesome power, and fear is a very normal response in such circumstances. They were obviously not afraid of Jesus, but being in the presence of such a person must surely have greatly heightened a sense of their own powerlessness. As they themselves put it ‘A mighty prophet has come among us. We have seen the hand of God today’.
Imagine the scene – your loved one having a heart attack there right in front of you, they stop breathing, the paramedics are right there in front of you giving CPR, it’s almost like you hold your breath, you say a little prayer, ‘please God don’t let him die’. Suddenly they begin breathing again, the paramedics put him into the ambulance, and you let out the breath you have been holding and just want to hug the paramedics..
Jesus might not be here on earth but he is certainly with us when situations like that occur, his compassion reaches out to us. His love for us surrounds us. He is with us in our pain and sorrow. Death and grief are part of life, if we feel overwhelming sorrow it shows how much we loved the person. Our bodies are human, they can’t carry on forever the fact is that just as we are born into life at some point we have to die, all of us will face the death of someone we love at some time in our lives. But God promises to be with us, in our sorrow and surround us with his love if we let him.
For all of us compassion should lead to action. Our hearts reaching out to help others in prayer and service. How can we help?
Pick a charity – sometimes they have a section on resources for children.
Tell the story of the people that need help.
Perhaps begin with prayer, lighting a candle to show the light of Christ reaching into the situation.
Then ask the children – what would you like to do to help?
They could raise some money to send to the charity.
They could donate toys or clothes they have grown out of.
They could take away a photo of the person or people in that situation and pray every night for them.
‘Please God be with them’ and us as we begin another day.