|Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||August 21, 2016||Proper 16, Year C||Hebrews 12:18-29; Luke 13:10-17|
|Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||August 7, 2016||Proper 14, Year C||Genesis 15:1-6, Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16, Proper 14, Year C|
|Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||July 31, 2016||Proper 13, Year C||Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14, 2:18-23; Colossians 3:1-11, Luke 12:13-21|
|Tenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||July 24, 2016||Proper 12, Year C||Luke 11:1-13|
|Eighth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||July 10, 2016||Proper 10, Year C||Luke 10:25-37|
|Seventh Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||July 3, 2016||Proper 9, Year C||Luke 10:1-11, 16-20; Galatians 6:7-16|
|Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||June 26, 2016||Proper 8, Year C||Luke 9:51-62, Galatians 5:1,13-25, Psalm 16, 1 Kings 19:15-16,19-21|
|Fifth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||June 19, 2016||Proper 7, Year C||Luke 8:26-39: Luke 24:13-35|
|Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||June 12, 2016||Proper 6, Year C||2 Samuel 11;26-12:10-13-15, Luke 7:36-8:3|
|➤Third Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||June 5, 2016||Proper 5, Year C||Luke 7: 11-17|
|Second Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||May 29, 2016||Second Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||Luke 7:1-10|
|Trinity Sunday, Pentecost 1, Year C||May 22, 2016||Trinity Sunday, Year C||John 16:12-15, Psalm 8|
|Day of Pentecost! Year C||May 15, 2016||The Day of Pentecost, Year C||Acts 2:1-21, John 14:8-17, 25-27|
|Easter 5, Year C||April 24, 2016||Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year C||Acts 11:1-18, Revelation 21:1-6, John 13:31-35, Psalm 148|
|Easter 4, Year C||April 17, 2016||Easter 4, Year C||Acts 9:36-43, Psalm 23, Revelation 7:9-17, John 10:22-30|
Third Sunday after Pentecost, Year C
Sermon Date:June 5, 2016
Scripture: Luke 7: 11-17
Liturgy Calendar: Proper 5, Year C
"Widow of Nain" – Corinne Peters
Tomorrow is the 72nd anniversary of D-Day.
On June 6, 1944, the Allied Forces landed on the beaches of Normandy, France, in spite of heavy bombardment from the German army.
General Dwight D. Eisenhower had wanted to invade on June the 4th, but high wind, rough seas and driving rain made the invasion impossible. British weather forecasters believed that a break in the weather would come on June 6th, and so Eisenhower chose that day to move ahead.
That morning, a thick cloud caused allied bombers and paratroopers to stray miles off target. Meanwhile, the cold rough seas, churned up by stiff winds, capsized some of the landing craft before they could reach their destinations. The wind blew mortar shells off their mark.
However, by noon, the weather cleared, and the invasion was ultimately successful.
Over 9,000 Allied troops died that day. But thanks to the sacrifice of these 9,000 troops, over 100,000 others were able to begin the long, slow, bloody, liberating trek across Europe which eventually led to the end of World War II.
General Dwight D. Eisenhower said that this invasion was a crusade in which “we will accept nothing less than full victory.”
Seventy-two years later, we can only imagine the terror of the soldiers who, already soaked from the salty sea spray washing over them, stared death in the face and leapt out into the cold rough seas, hoping to stay alive long enough to reach the beach, and then hoping to stay alive in spite of heavy shelling from the Germans—and even as they saw their buddies blown apart and dying all around them, hoping against hope to stay alive. They moved forward, knowing that each step might bring death with it.
Just as desperate, but in a different time and place, is the widow in today’s gospel.
Her husband has already died, and now her only son has died, and the death of her only son has shoved her out into the cold rough death dealing seas of complete poverty and destitution.
She is totally at the mercy of others now to help her, and that help may or may not come because no one is left to be responsible for her well-being. Widows in her time had no resources or options of their own, so she is also staring death in the face.
The great funeral procession of her son passes through the gate of the village. The widow is leaving the life she has known. She is now entering unknown territory with nothing. She’s lost everything except her own life, which now, in the eyes of the world, is worthless.
Grief presses hard on this woman.
She is deaf to the mournful cries of the large crowd with her.
Staring down at the ground as she walks, she sees nothing but the dusty road passing through the gate, sees nothing except how quickly the dust soaks up her tears, as quickly as death has soaked up her life and left her nothing but dust.
She doesn’t see the lively crowd of disciples and and followers of Jesus who have just arrived in their own procession at the gate of the village just as the funeral procession prepares to pass through.
But Jesus, the Lord of Life, at the head of the lively procession, sees this widow who has now lost her only son.
And he feels not just sorrow for this woman, but a deep down compassion that twists his gut.
Jesus knows that her son’s death has dealt this woman a death blow from which she will not recover.
So at this gate, Jesus wages a battle against death itself.
And this battle for life that Jesus wages is a battle in which Jesus “will accept nothing less than full victory.”
Jesus, in order to restore life to this widow, also restores the life of her son.
“Young man, I say to you, rise!”
And when the young man sits up and begins to speak, the gospel tells us that Jesus gives him to his mother.
Jesus has set this widow free from death.
We don’t know what happened to the widow after this resurrection moment.
But she and her son and that whole mournful procession must have become a procession of people full of life now, who turned back with great rejoicing and took up their lives in the village again, in awe that God had looked favorably on all of them. They were in awe because they knew that they had been in the presence of the Lord of Life himself.
After this life-giving event, the word about Jesus, the Lord of Life, continued to spread throughout Judea.
People just had to share the good news about what they had seen– the compassion that Jesus had on the widow and that he had raised her son from the dead.
This good news could not be stopped, and through the years, this good news has continued to inspire countless men and women, who find themselves standing in the gateway between death and life. This good news is that they have met Jesus there, and they have chosen to take the gift of life that he offers to each and every one of us.
Seventy -two years ago, more than 160,000 terrified soldiers knew that when they plunged into the rough cold waters of the English Channel that they could well be passing through the gateway of life into their physical deaths.
But they went forward anyway, hoping that if the Allies could win this battle, the deadly beaches of Normandy would become the gateway of hope, freedom and new life for the countries of Europe that had been destroyed by years of war. That hope was a resurrection hope!
Sooner or later, every one of us will have to stand in this gateway between life and death.
It is in that place, where death seems to have won out, that we will find Jesus, our compassionate Lord of Life, waiting for us.
When you inevitably find yourself in this gateway, remember this story of the widow who got her life back, thanks to God’s compassion for her.
Remember, the gateway between death and life is a battleground.
And even though death seems to win so often, death never has the last word.
Because Jesus is there with you.
And Jesus will accept nothing less for you than the full victory of life.