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Friday, February 26, 2016

Today’s Reading | Luke 7:1–17

After Jesus had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. A centurion there had a slave whom he valued highly, and who was ill and close to death. When he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders to him, asking him to come and heal his slave. When they came to Jesus, they appealed to him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy of having you do this for him, for he loves our people, and it is he who built our synagogue for us.” And Jesus went with them, but when he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to say to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; therefore I did not presume to come to you. But only speak the word, and let my servant be healed. For I also am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and the slave does it.” When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, he said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” When those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.

Soon afterwards he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went with him. As he approached the gate of the town, a man who had died was being carried out. He was his mother’s only son, and she was a widow; and with her was a large crowd from the town. When the Lord saw her, he had compassion for her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Then he came forward and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And 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. Fear seized all of them; and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has risen among us!” and “God has looked favorably on his people!” This word about him spread throughout Judea and all the surrounding country. (NRSV)

Years ago, I wandered alone into unfamiliar woods. Fear overwhelmed me when I realized that I did not have a clue as to how to get out. I had no cell phone, GPS, or other such device. What do I do? Which way do I go? How am I to find my way home?

Then I listened to the still small voice within saying, “Stop! Don’t panic! Look for light to guide you.” In faith, I walked toward the sunlight beaming through the treetops, believing that I would find a way out. Finally, I found a path that led to an old railroad track being converted into a walking trail. It was my way out.

When the centurion sent for Jesus to come and heal his dying servant, it was an act of faith of the centurion. When he said to Jesus, “Say the word, and my servant will be healed,” the centurion was speaking words of faith. He believed that Jesus would heal his servant, and Jesus did. When Jesus raised the widow’s son from the dead, he revealed divine compassion, restoring life and bringing joy to all who witnessed this miracle of “God with us.”

The faith and compassion illustrated in this sacred text are attributes of grace available for our lives today. Thank you, God!

Divine Spirit, help me to daily trust you to heal and to renew life. Thank you for the light of faith guiding me with the assurance that even in the heart of darkness you are ever present. Amen.

Written by Mary Lenox, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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