There are times when we need to remember that God is with us. Those times are often not when we are happy and content, they are moments when life is hard and we have suffered loss. These are times when we seem to be without hope and feel totally lost and alone. It is in those moments that we need to see God and to know his presence. We want to know not only that God is here with us and that God actually cares about what is happening to his people to us, to me. Jesus’ earthly ministry, the presence of the Spirit and the witness of Scripture all point to a God who cares about his creation and that God desires to bring not just health but total salvation for the whole of his creation.
And to highlight what God has done in the past in small ways, Jesus demonstrates publicly and in powerful ways. Where there were only a couple of witnesses to see what Elijah and subsequently Elisha did for boys who were the life and the futures of their respective families, now there are hundreds of witnesses for what happens to a young man from Nain and his widowed mother. In the case of the prophets, the people sought them out as men of God while in Nain, God seeks out the widowed mother stops the procession to the cemetery and consoles the mother. It needs to be considered that no one expected God to intervene in this desperate situation. It was death. And death comes to us all. And more than likely people had tough of divine action as being a thing of the past.
It is like a man who after spending some time reading his bible and about all the great things that Jesus did decided to go back to Church. He had not been in Church since he was a boy. He was greeted at the door with the welcome and the usual papers at the door. He sat through the serve not quite sure what to do but he followed as best he could. H e went home a little disappointed that he had not seen some of the things that he had read about in Scripture. So he went back the following Sunday and the Sunday after that hoping that he would see some of the things he had read about. Finally one Sunday, at the door after service, he asked the clergy about not seeing some of the things that were in Scripture but that weren’t in the Church – where were the blind to receive their sight, the lame being made able to walk and the deaf to hear and the dead to rise he asked. The clergy responding by telling the man, “Oh we believe in these things very much. We love to hear all about them but we don’t do them here.” The Church never saw the man again.
How does the world know that God is here and that God is acting in this world if the Church does act like it? Remember what we were told from Scripture, “Jesus saw her”. Jesus looked and encountered this woman in her deep grief, her protection from the ills and nastiness of society stripped away and her ability to care for herself driven away in her old age because of the loss of her only son. We know what Jesus would do – he moved to stop the tears. The question is, faced with the same kinds of circumstances, what would you do? The only way that the world is going to know that God is amongst us is if we begin to act like Christ; to in some foolish sense dare to stop the tears and raise the head and get the eyes of those we encounter to look for the presence of the Saviour.
And do we know where people are hurting? Needing? Crying? Where can we move to, not only to find them, but to bring the presence of God into those moments, into those places and spaces where we can pray and be an answer to prayer as God sees fit. Jesus moved to bind up the broken hearted. He acts to give the mother her son back. It did not depend on her faith or how the young man had lived his life. In this particular instance Jesus chose to act and to restore not just one life but two.
So at the beginning of this long, green season, let us remind ourselves and those around us that “God has visited and is redeeming his people and has raised up a mighty salvation for us in the house of his servant David”. Let‘s go and make it known that God has remembered his promises to us and is fulfilling them so that we know he is near. And let’s do so in Jesus name.