It’s still the final frontier.
Our continuing mission is to keep on seeking out new worlds of faith.
To boldly go where no faith has gone before.
And on this week’s episode we are going to do precisely that. We are going to push the faith envelope and mail ourselves to another dimension.
In fact, don’t cue the theme music for Faith Trek. We are going to go so boldly that this is more appropriately Faith Trek: The Next Generation.
Previously, on Faith Trek, remember, Jesus encountered the Roman centurion, whose faith was so strong that he told Jesus to simply speak the word and his servant would be healed.
Jesus was so amazed, saying he had never encountered such strong faith before. “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would,” Jesus told the man and the Roman centurion’s servant was healed at that very moment.
If that healing seems miraculous to us, just look at what the Gospel of Luke has for us this week.
Soon after healing the centurion’s servant, Jesus is on his way to a city called Nain. As he approaches the gates of the city a man who had died is being carried out on a bier. Jesus sees the dead man’s widowed mother, and knows what kind of life a widowed woman will have in that day and age, alone in the world after her only son has died.
The photon torpedoes of sorrow and surrender must have surrounded her mightily. Life’s phasers were not simply set on “stun.” A man was dead. What in the world could Jesus do about that? The crowd following him was surely asking themselves that question. If we were walking with Jesus on that road, we’d be asking ourselves the same thing. Nobody would have been expecting the dead to rise.
So what happens? Exactly what we least expect. Jesus has compassion for the grieving woman, Luke tells us, “and said to her, ‘Do not weep.’” Then Jesus touches the bier and says, “‘Young man, I say to you, rise!’”
The young man does just that and begins to speak.
Yet, so utterly believable.
And something, I suspect, that each of us has encountered in our own lives, if we think about it.
Something about our life was dead and through our faith in God’s grace and love, through our faith in Jesus’ witness to that grace and love, and his promise of the Holy Spirit, we have risen from that “dead” self into a new life.
We have left that “bier” behind.
To echo the 46th Psalm, something about our life was keeping us prisoner—some hurt, behavior, circumstance. Whatever.
And the Lord set us free.
Something about our life made us feel blind.
And the Lord opened our eyes.
Something about our life was bowing us down.
And the Lord lifted us up.
Something about our life made us feel as alone in this world as an orphan or a widow.
And the Lord surrounded us with his healing presence.
Yes, I suspect we have all, at some point in our lives, felt Jesus touch our “bier”—touch whatever it was that was keeping us prisoner, blinding us, bowing us down or making us feel isolated from God’s love—and say to us, “Rise!”
I know that I have.
There are all sorts of “biers” in the world and Jesus can, and will, touch every one of them.
If there is something in your life that makes you feel imprisoned, blind or bowed down, why wait another day to feel the voice of Jesus telling you to rise?
Let these words soak into your soul: “You Are Loved—Always.” That is the Holy Spirit of God speaking and Jesus, our Shepherd, has led us to those words. Take those words with you and, some time later today, find a quiet moment. Just you and the Lord. Let Jesus touch your “bier” with the truth of those words.
Then feel your soul rise at the speed of Light.