Sunday, June 10, 2007

Make Room

1 Kings 17:17-24

The son of the woman, the mistress of the house at Zarephath, became ill; his illness was so severe that there was no breath left in him. She then said to Elijah, "What have you against me, O man of God? You have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance, and to cause the death of my son!" But he said to her, "Give me your son." He took him from her bosom, carried him up into the upper chamber where he was lodging, and laid him on his own bed. He cried out to the LORD, "O LORD my God, have you brought calamity even upon the widow with whom I am staying, by killing her son?" Then he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried out to the LORD, "O LORD my God, let this child's life come into him again." The LORD listened to the voice of Elijah; the life of the child came into him again, and he revived. Elijah took the child, brought him down from the upper chamber into the house, and gave him to his mother; then Elijah said, "See, your son is alive." So the woman said to Elijah, "Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is truth.”

Luke 7:11-17

Soon after healing the centurion's slave, Jesus 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 favorably on his people!" This word about him spread throughout Judea and all the surrounding country.


The readings above were assigned by the lectionary for services this morning. They are remarkably similar, even on a cursory examination. Beyond that, geographically, the separate restorations to life of the sons of widows occur less than a couple of miles apart!

Part of the point, of course, is that the restoration Jesus performs is intended to remind the witnesses of the prior restoration performed by Elijah. The prophet Elijah was part of some strains of messianic expectation. He was a model prophet, perhaps even the ideal prophet. Connecting Jesus to Elijah would have granted Jesus the credibility of the tradition.

However, I can’t quite shake the dead men who were raised. What became of them? How do they respond to their “second” chance at life? The scriptures don’t speak to the response of either.

I don’t think the lack of information about the widows’ sons is an oversight. Surely, it is intentional. The advantage of not knowing is the creation of imaginational space. We, as hearers, are offered room to see ourselves as those granted a new life through the action of God. We, once dead, are granted the new life God offers in the Christ.

The lack of information about the revived sons means we do not have an example, in either of the revived, to imitate. Perhaps, this is an invitation to find our own unique ways to respond with all that makes us unique. It is a kind of affirmation. We were created as individuals and we were granted freedom. God invites us to freely respond with all that we are?

What do we have that the Kingdom requires? What has God given us that God desires to harness? I will open myself to God and the Kingdom by…

No comments: