Reflections: The 16th Sunday after Trinity

Today’s Reading: Luke 7:11-17
Daily Lectionary: Nehemiah 2:11-20; 4:1-6; 1 Timothy 2:1-15

And when the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” … And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” (Luke 7:13)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. People sometimes say silly things at funerals. We don’t often have the right words to say when someone dies. Death is too big of an event and our language fails. How can we properly express our sympathy and grief to the bereaved?

I’ve buried dozens of people during my several years as a pastor, so I’ve heard people say all sorts of foolish things. I’m still not sure what we should say at funerals, but I know a bit about what we should not say. “Don’t cry” is probably the worst thing that you could say. Death is the enemy! How could we not cry and feel sad when someone we love has died? Jesus Himself weeps at the tomb of His friend Lazarus! Sorrow is natural and grief is actually quite healthy, so long as it is not given over to despair. You do not need to deny the tragedy that has occurred when someone dies.

What shall we do with our friend Jesus then? Was He wrong? I do not advise any of you to use His words at a funeral unless you can do what Jesus can do. He comes to the saddest woman in the world, and tells her to stop weeping. This seems ridiculous.

This is how things will go with Jesus. It is nearly unbelievable. Not only does He command the sad mother to not weep, He then speaks to the dead son. “Arise!” Jesus does uncommon and seemingly foolish things all the time because He can follow through on them. The dead young man hears the words of Jesus, sits up, and begins to speak! Jesus tells the mother to stop weeping because He is going to raise her son from death.
Our world will be filled with weeping on account of death until Jesus comes again, touches us, and speaks to us. Be assured that this will indeed happen. Your ears will hear the voice of Jesus, as clearly as you already have in Holy Baptism and in the preaching of the Word, and you will be raised from the dead. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

O Lord, we pray that Your grace may always go before and follow after us, that we may continually be 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)

Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch