|Lucas Cranach the Younger (1515-1586) |
Raising of the Son of the Widow of Nain (1569)
Wittenberg, Church of St. Mary
In Nain (Heb. "lovely," "green pastures")
Not just any magic trick,
to bring a crowd
to its feet;
Not some celebrity,
curing one day but saying the next
he didn't mean it;
This Jesus has compassion
on she whose only means of support
was, but for him, gone.
This Jesus suffers with,
she would have died, too.
So Jesus seeks no greener pastures,
no easier performance,
no safer bet.
He raises someone from the dead
for the first time,
maybe not knowing if he could or should.
The man sits up
and all of Nain is in awe.
They see the possible,
another side of lovely,
another side of God.
And one can imagine
each turning to their neighbor,
"Let's make Nain kind again,"
here, in this lovely,
Scott L. Barton
Soon afterwards [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.
+ + +
Mendelssohn's "Elijah," part II
Cynthia and I sang this text years ago.
I, Elijah; she, the widow.
I still remember her voice,
Bereft from losing her son,
She wonders if Elijah
Has recalled to God her sin.
"Give me thy son," Elijah sings.
"In mercy heal this widow's son;
"In mercy heal this widow's son!
"Lord, in mercy heal this widow's son."
He doesn't give up.
And then, surprise!
"Now behold, thy son liveth!"
And now she knows, she sings,
That he's a man of God,
And that the word in his mouth is the truth.
"What shall I render to the Lord
For all his benefits to me?"
The oratorio recalls Psalm 116 for this question;
And then, for the answer, Deuteronomy 6,
Which Jesus remembered too:
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God,
Love him, with all thy heart,
And with all thy soul,
And with all thy might;"
And now Elijah and the widow
Are soaring with the Psalmist:
"Oh, blessed are they,
Are they who fear him!"
And now it's the chorus's turn
To sing in dulcet tones of blessedness.
And now it's our turn, too,
To claim the blessedness
Of knowing Elijah's God still,
To remember it, and live it,
And walk in the ways of peace,
All our days.
Scott L. Barton
also at http://lectionarypoems.blogspot.com/2013/06/third-sunday-after-pentecost-june-9-2013.html
Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “Go now to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and live there; for I have commanded a widow there to feed you.” So he set out and went to Zarephath. When he came to the gate of the town, a widow was there gathering sticks; he called to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel, so that I may drink.” As she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” But she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of meal in a jar, and a little oil in a jug; I am now gathering a couple of sticks, so that I may go home and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.” Elijah said to her, “Do not be afraid; go and do as you have said; but first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterwards make something for yourself and your son. For thus says the Lord the God of Israel: The jar of meal will not be emptied and the jug of oil will not fail until the day that the Lord sends rain on the earth.” She went and did as Elijah said, so that she as well as he and her household ate for many days. The jar of meal was not emptied, neither did the jug of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by Elijah.
After this the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, 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.”