The lurid eyes of death always a picture in my mind, I felt a burning weight upon my chest, felt as though I were drowning, panicking, suffocating, and there was none to help, none to help. Over and over again, I turned the pages of my life, searching frenziedly, reading between the lines even, for a reason as to why I was so cursed. Was I not cursed? Is that not what they would all say? Perhaps this is why I felt so deserted; I expected no one to help me now. Sinners did not merit care, and, without anyone to care for me, I knew that was how the town viewed me. And in the deepest parts of me I knew. My fiery guilt is true, as real as the cold, stagnant body of my son.
My dear, only son’s body was hoisted upon the bier and carried by a few men through the town for the procession. The wailing of the crowd, considerable in size, was intense enough to give anyone nightmares. Perhaps the women considered their own sons. To add to the torture was the haunting memory of another funeral procession which seemed not very long ago in my mind, and I wailed. More grieved than any, my wails stood alone. Shock had not comforted me much, so at least I had a chance to express the ache already in my heart, released many a times since the day before in a groan here, a sob there. The hours of worry released themselves also in my howls. Where would I find food? Shelter? How long could I make it on our last loaf of bread? My last loaf of bread.
As we reached the gate to carry him out, from the head of the crowd I spotted another crowd coming toward us, a great crowd, and did not take much note of them. However, for some reason, the other crowd stopped- I believe because their leader stopped- and the head of it looked at me, His face flushed from His journey, unattractive, beside the zest of life in His eyes, eyes that rested on me. Turning my sallow face toward him, my eyes- I’m sure of stinging, pathetic, wild grief- met His eyes, compassion welling up in them, passionate compassion, almost fierce, that lively sparkle in His eye- or His look or whatever it was- ever present. I note this all only looking back; when I first saw Him, I cannot I noted anything at all inhumane about this man.
Then He spoke. “Do not weep." His voice…it was excited, tense, gentle, magnanimous in its feeling, as if compassion spewed irresistibly the words from the depths of Him. Queerly, then he walked up toward the bier, the men holding it standing still, and touched it. “Young man, I say to you, arise,” He said, confidence in His voice. The Prince of Life collides with Death and Sin and wins.
My dead boy sat up and began to speak! And the man gave him to me. Relief swept over me like a refreshing sea breeze at noon, but wonder, fear, seized me even more, along with the rest of the crowd. “A great prophet has arisen among us!” “God has visited His people!” God has visited His people, and peace has visited the earth among those with whom He is pleased.* In a moment of desperate need, when all is lost for me and to me, He comes, merely passing by my town in His journey, with no reason to stop here but compassion, unasked for by me or any other as far as I know, unnecessary on His part, Life and Mercy dripping from Him, meeting me, guilty and helpless me, drawing near to me with Joy in His wake. And peace flows like a river through my sin-scorched veins.**
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.***
*Luke 2:14, ESV
**Isaiah 66:12, ESV
***Romans 5:1, ESV
Dialogue and story from Luke 7:11-17