Widow of Nain

She lived down the street from us. Trying to make ends meet with her baked goods and her simple stitchery. Six years the husband had been gone. That awful accident at the building site. The week of lingering and the night of the terrible storm when her childhood sweetheart breathed his last.

Their son had been twelve years old when he lost his father and the much needed male influence. In the intervening years he had few friends, no known romance and a string of short-term jobs to help his mother. It had seemed to her that a new household and laughing grandchildren were dreams incapable of fruition.

Then fever visited, and the youth with his irregular work schedules, poor diet and meager build proved a ready target. He came home wheezing and lasted only two days.

The neighbours, my husband included, had arranged the funeral bier, the rabbi's attendance and the simple gathering of respect for one so little known. Oh, but he was still the hope and treasure of his mother. To the rest of us women her brave silence in the procession was almost more pathetic than an open flood of grief.

At the end of the street and before turning to the place of meeting, we noticed a tall fetching man in the company of several friends. He laid his hands on the shoulders of two of his comrades and turned to us. With eyes confident, clear and piercing he faced the bereaved woman whispering, "Weep not."

Asking for no permission, he approached the body and touched the bier upon which it lay, "Young man, I say unto thee arise."

Imagine our shock when we saw the head move and the eyes register recognition, the lips a smile and some words of reassurance to his mother. Alive again! What strange power? What divine sympathy had come to bless our village, a delicate lad and one poor lonely woman?

This man, Jesus, so masterful and compassionate. The mother's dreams revived.

(Taken with some liberties from Luke 7:11-17)

(Painting by Walter Rane)


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