Reflections: September 27, 2020
The 16th Sunday after Trinity
By Mark Buetow
When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, "Do not weep." (Luke 7:13)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Wait a minute. How is it "compassionate" to tell a woman who has lost her son not to weep? Really, Jesus? She's a widow, which means she's already lost her husband. Now she's lost her only son. And you tell her not to cry?
It's like Jesus thinks He has power over death or something. Maybe that's because He knows He will suffer and die, and on the Third Day rise again. He knows that when He is raised from the dead, death has no more dominion over Him. And if death has no dominion over Jesus, it has no power over you, who are baptized into His death and resurrection.
We fear death. We don't like to think about death. We don't like to deal with death. But it's here. All around us. What Jesus teaches us is that rather than accept death as a "natural part of life," we are to treat it like an enemy who has been defeated and is worth nothing more than ridicule!
Remember when Jesus raised Jairus' daughter from the dead? He told everyone she wasn't dead but sleeping. When He raised Lazarus, the Lord told His disciples he had been sleeping, too. When the New Testament refers to death, it speaks of "falling asleep." Why? Because sleep is harmless. You fall asleep and then you wake up. Death is falling asleep. You die and then you wake up and rise from the dead. That is because Jesus triumphed over death and made a spectacle of it.
When you stand in a funeral line and greet the loved ones of the person who died, what do you tell them? "I'm so sorry. My condolences." I'm sure you don't tell them not to cry! Try this: Next time you're at a funeral, tell them, "Christ is risen!" That's the great Easter greeting that we say to one another in celebration of the fact that Jesus' grave is empty, He is alive, and now death for you is nothing more than falling asleep for a bit and awakening to the glory of paradise and life everlasting. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
O Lord, we pray that Your grace may always go before and follow after us, that we may be continually given to all good works; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever. Amen. (Collect for the 16th Sunday after Trinity)
-Rev. Mark Buetow is the pastor of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church and School in McHenry, Illinois.
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