Life Out of Death
- 1 Kings 17:8-16, (17-24)
- Psalm 146
- Galatians 1:11-24
- Luke 7:11-17
Today’s readings from the Hebrew Scriptures and the Gospel are well paired with one another. Elijah is shown as a miracle-working man of God. Following his ordeal with Ahab, Jezebel, and the prophets of Baal from last week, we hear of his encounter with a widow from Zarephath. He provides her food in time of scarcity, and later heals her son. A similar encounter occurs with Jesus: he meets a mother in Nain weeping during a funeral procession and brings her son back to life.
For women to live alone was a difficult life. In first-century Israel, women did not live independently. Any widow with a son could provide for her, so if her son died, she would live a very precarious life. Both Ezekiel and Jesus act out of compassion for these women. While restoring their dead sons to life, he also gives these women their life back. It is a ‘resurrected’ life, here on earth.
The Burial of the Dead in the Book of Common Prayer, along with all forms of the Prayers of the People, recognizes that those who have died are being “raised up” into the resurrection life. We pray with hope (BCP 507) for the communion of saints that have gone before us. Together we are the “whole family of God, the living and the dead.” (BCP 862).
- In what ways are these widows blessed?
- What do their experiences suggest about the power of God’s word in our own lives?
- What do these stories suggest about God’s attitude towards us in our times of vulnerability and weakness?