1 Cor. 12:12, 14, 27-31/Psalm 100/Luke 7:11-17
I had to consult the Great Google to jog my memory, but I’ve actually visited the village of Nain, where the widow’s son was raised. Today it’s a non-descript Arab village in the Galilee, not far from Nazareth. I don’t think there’s a Christian community there anymore, but there is a small chapel built by the Crusaders, probably over the ruins of a Byzantine shrine. If I remember correctly, a Muslim family are caretakers of the church and unlock the door for visitors.
Luke’s account of raising the widow’s son has similarities with the raising of Lazarus in John’s Gospel. John calls the miracles of Jesus signs, signs pointing beyond themselves to something greater. The miracles were great; but they point to something greater. These raisings from the dead point to one of the two great mysteries of our faith: Resurrection. We believe in Resurrection; that is, literally, “standing up again”. The Resurrection of Jesus and the Resurrection of human beings.
“Pentecost continues! Pentecost is most fundamentally a continuing gift of the Spirit;”
So begins “A Pastoral letter to the Episcopal Church” (2 June 2010) [http://www.episcopalchurch.org/79425_122615_ENG_HTM.htm], issued this past week by Presiding Bishop and Primate Katharine Jefferts Schori.
“Pentecost is most fundamentally a continuing gift of the Spirit, rather than a limitation or quenching of that Spirit,” writes the Primate. Her letter comes in response to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Pentecost letter to the Anglican Communion (28 May 2010) [http://www.episcopalchurch.org/79425_122553_ENG_HTM.htm] concerning current struggles within the Communion. Bishop Katharine expresses concern that the text of that letter “seems to equate its understanding of the Spirit’s outpouring,” as she puts it, “with a single understanding of gospel realities. Those who received the gift of the Spirit on that day all heard good news,” Jefferts Schori continues. “The crowd reported, ‘in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power’ [Acts 2:11].”
“The Lord saw her and had compassion…”
Imagine this scene as if you were watching it from the outskirts of the village of Nain: