Lent 4 Midweek 2009

Laetare Thursday
2 Kings 4:25-38, Luke 7:11-16

In the Name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The accounts of the Shunnamite woman and the widow in Nain are obviously parallel, and obviously Easter, Resurrection stories. What we sometimes forget is that there is no Easter without Good Friday. For all the joy the Shunnamite woman and widow in Nain enjoyed at the return of their sons, they came only to this joy after a terrible encounter with death, only after nearly unbearable pain and sorrow. They lost their sons. They wept and mourned and were emptied inside.

Then their sons came back and they rejoiced. Do not think this was some shallow cheerfulness or the giddy happiness of a puppy with a bone. This was joy informed by sorrow, joy that knew the reunion of mother and son was temporary, that death was a real threat which had only been delayed, not destroyed. To wit, the Shunnamite’s son and the boy raised in Nain are no longer with us. They died again.

The point here, on the near-eve of Judica, is that the only way those boys could be resurrected, even temporarily, was if the widow Mary lost her only Son, if Jesus died. So also, those boys could only be resurrected, if Jesus rose. Their resurrections back to this living death could only be echoes of the true resurrection, of the real life to come, of the time and place when mothers and sons would be reunited forever, not in the temporary delay of death, but in the actual defeat of death.

That is the good work that has been begun in you, even as it was in them. You live in the in-between time, waiting for the completion, for Easter’s promise and beginning to come full. Now you suffer. Your loved ones die. Your pets die. Your plants die. Cars rust,. Paint chips. Wood rots. All things are coming undone. And we carry too many biers out to the cemetery. But Jesus died, and Jesus lives, and Jesus loves you and will bring you home. Your day will come, even as it has now for the Shunnamite and Mary. Your day will come. Your children will not be taken from you forever. Your sorrow will end. Because our judgment is coming, but Jesus lives.

In +Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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