“Do not weep”

In Luke 7:11-17 we read how Jesus pitied a mother and widow and taught us how to treat one another.

Jesus journeyed to a city called Nain,
and his disciples and a large crowd accompanied him.
As he drew near to the gate of the city,
a man who had died was being carried out,
the only son of his mother, and she was a widow.
A large crowd from the city was with her.
When the Lord saw her,
he was moved with pity for her and said to her,
Do not weep.”
He stepped forward and touched the coffin;
at this the bearers halted,
and he said, “Young man, I tell you, arise!”
The dead man sat up and began to speak,
and Jesus gave him to his mother.
Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, crying out
“A great prophet has arisen in our midst, “
and “God has visited his people.”
This report about him spread through the whole of Judea
and in all the surrounding region.

I’m moved by Jesus’ words to the widow and mother to whom he says, “Do not weep.” This passage of scripture says that Jesus was moved with pity for her. And he brings her son back to life. A miracle. But not a miracle created as a spectacle as many are portrayed but done out of love for and in service to others in need.

Those accompanying the widow were seized with fear and proclaimed, “God has visited his people.” Indeed, God took the human form and walked among us. He lived as we live and rather than doing amazing stunts like creating earthquakes and gigantic tornadoes of fire and other overwhelming events, Jesus did things that affected people’s personal lives. Those weren’t stunts, they were miracles that improved people’s lives, instigated because Jesus was moved to act by pity and compassion and love. God’s love.

And far from acting alone, Jesus brought along a posse of individuals we call His disciples, whom he taught to act with pity and compassion and love to do the same. He even taught them that they could work the same miracles — that they could do anything they set their minds to, even move mountains, if they just had faith. In that way, Jesus was inviting, even commanding, His disciples and – all of us – to do the same, to act in service to others out of pity and with compassion and love.

God visited his people then and he visits us now. Through the acts of kindness that true people of God do everyday. And if people would stop putting an emphasis on what law or commandment they thought their neighbors were breaking and put it instead on how their neighbors are suffering or ailing, they might be closer to fulfilling Jesus’ very commandment to love our neighbor. “Do not weep,” Jesus told the mother and widow. Imagine if that were our first words to each other instead of the many epitaphs we often hear today.

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