Monday, June 7, 2010

Widow of Nain

J.J. Tissot, detail of "Jesus Raising the son of the widow at Nain" (1890), original watercolor
The following is from Sunday's Gospel reading:
"Soon afterwards he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went with him. As he approached the gate of the town, a man who had died was being carried out. He was his mother’s only son, and she was a widow; and with her was a large crowd from the town. When the Lord saw her, he had compassion for her and said to her, ‘Do not weep.’ Then he came forward and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, ‘Young man, I say to you, rise!’ The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Fear seized all of them; and they glorified God, saying, ‘A great prophet has risen among us!’ and ‘God has looked favourably on his people!’ This word about him spread throughout Judea and all the surrounding country." Luke 7:11-17

So the crowd following Jesus was heading toward Nain while the crowd following the widow was walking away from the town when their paths crossed. And you know what happens when your path crosses with Jesus? Resurrection! Oh, maybe not the type where you flip the lid off of your coffin and you start chatting up a storm (though I do wonder what the widow's son said after he sat up & realized he was in his own funeral procession?) but Resurrection comes in many forms such as: we no longer have to live in fear, change is actually possible, and when we die, we will be brought into new life. And that, my friends is the Good News!

(The focus of this painting is the dead son but in the reading the emphasis is actually on the widow and the compassion she receives from Jesus. This painting has a "Where's Waldo" quality to it, as in "Where's the Widow?")


John said...

Great show, that Tissot! Thanks for a great precis on resurrection.

Jan said...

The story of the Widow of Nain is one of my favorite stories.