Liturgy for Worship on Sunday, June 9

I am sharing liturgical writing focused on the Luke passages for each Sunday in the Revised Common Lectionary. This week the contributor is Barbara VanAusdall of Mascoutah, Illinois, known to me before this time as a hymn-writer. She shares poetry that can be read by several voices followed by a single-voiced reflection on Luke 7: 11-17.

Meditation on Luke 7:11-17, lectionary Gospel for Sunday, June 9, 2013

Some mother’s son is dead,
a suspect in the bombings in Boston
killed in a shoot-out in this 21st Century holocaust.

Some mother’s son is dead,
lying comatose in a hospital bed on life support,
unable to initiate connection or respond to her loving touch.

Some mother’s son is dead,
shot in a drug deal, or a gang fight,
or a basketball game in the park gone bad.

Some mother’s son is dead,
and his body arrives in a flag-draped coffin
to be laid to rest in a military cemetery.

Some mother’s son is dead,
sentenced to live out his days labeled and separated
for sex offenses against other mother’s sons and thus dead in our society.

Some mother’s son is dead,
assumed to have been waiting for a bus home
and later found floating face down in a river.

Some mother’s son is dead,
presumed buried beneath the rubble
of an exploded fertilizer plant.

I am one of these mothers, and I share in the grief for each one of us who loses a child, for the pain of such a loss is excruciating and the grief immeasurable.  That pain and grief is compounded when the loss is incomplete, as when a child has disappeared, or is comatose, or has offended against God and society.  There is no closure, only a torturous continuation that screams for healing and resurrection.

Luke’s story of the widow of Nain shows us the breadth of Christ’s compassion for any who suffer losses in this life.  In Luke 7, as Jesus approaches the gates of Nain with his disciples, he encounters a crowded funeral procession.  The man who has died is the only son of a widow.  Jesus immediately has compassion for her.  He knows that for her to lose this son is to lose everything, for in that time and culture, she has ceased to be because she now has no man to affirm her existence.   Christ’s compassion surpasses the depth of her grief and her sense of loss.  He tells her, “Do not weep.” and Luke continues, “He said, ‘Young man, I say to you, rise!’  The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.”  The dead man is fully resurrected, returned to her, and her grief turns to abounding joy, as the story of “a great prophet … among us …  spread[s] throughout Judea and all the surrounding country.”

It is this compassion, this abounding love that God holds for each one of us that promises us resurrection, even in the uncompleted losses we suffer.  We have but to trust that God is walking by our side as we grow in faith and move toward wholeness, knowing that in all things God’s love prevails, healing us with unending compassion and love.

NOTE:  This was written during TV news coverage of the shooting of one of the Boston Marathon Bombing suspects

Luke for Sharing – A Community Resource
A Collaboration of Forty-four Writers on the Scriptures from Luke
June – November, 2013

edited by Maren C. Tirabassi

All of these resources were given freely and they may be used in worship contexts. They may be adapted to fit your context. Please cite the original author when you reprint them or share them orally. For any other use please contact me so that I can put you directly in touch with that particular author.

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2 Responses to Liturgy for Worship on Sunday, June 9

  1. barbara vanausdall says:

    Thanks for your kind words and all your hard work on this sharing/caring project.

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