Sunday, September 19, 2010
The Widow of Nain
Today's Gospel (St. Luke 7:11-17) is one of my favorites. It epitomizes the entire mission of Christ: first, to come to us in compassion. We note that there were no preparations on the part of the widow of people of Nain for his coming; a strike against all who suppose that they have a gracious God on account of their own preparations or works. His presence that day was for one reason only: his own compassion. Second, we note how God has dealt with this woman. For a brief moment (which seemed like an eternity to her) he withdrew from her, leaving her bereft of husband and son, and shrouded in darkness; but then he returned to give her such abiding joy that she forgot her sorrow, as an ember is quenched when cast in the sea. Finally, we may see ourselves not only in the woman, but in her son. He is dead, and is being carried to his grave. So were we dead in trespasses and sins, and our pallbearers are the law, our nature, the devil, and the world. We are as helpless as the dead man here, until Christ comes and speaks. His holy Gospel causes us to sit up and speak, and show forth the praises of him who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light. The sermon.