Hello My Name Is.. (Week 9) – Widow of Nain
Hello Mummy Meditators!! I hope you have had a festive week, as we are now only 10 days away from Christmas. This coming week is no doubt going to be full of Christmas parties, performances and last minute shopping. So take 10 minutes today to read this summary post, reflect, and take some time to look at the verse for next week too.
We started looking at our last unnamed woman in the bible this week, the widow of Nain. This was the verse we were looking at:
“As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out-the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the LORD saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” Luke 7:12-13
Why all the widows?
Ok, so here we are in the last week of the series and yet again we are looking at a widow. We’ve had the widow of Zarephath, the widow with oil, the widows with coins. Why are there so many widows and their stories included in the Bible but the women not given a name? And what makes this one any different from the others?
This question has been on my mind all week. And I think that this is a theme that comes up again and again in the Bible. Psalm 68:5 says “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.”. James 1:27 says “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”. Why are the widows included so often? Because God cares so deeply for them. God knows that they are vulnerable and he wants to make sure they are protected. When the circumstances of life have turned against someone, instead of blaming God, He wants to step into the gap to help them and he wants us as his followers to do the same. This theme has smacked us in the face time and time again during this series – the way that the world blames God for the bad things that happen is not the truth. By including stories like this he is addressing that and showing that He cares and sees.
Tone of voice
Reading through this verse a few more times and the words Jesus speaks really started to stand out to me. It is really really hard only having the written text (and it being a translation not the original) as we can’t hear the tone of voice that is used. These two words really change meaning when you think about the tone of voice. Was Jesus shouting a command in an angry way – DON’T CRY!!! Was he saying this in a patronising manner, as if why on earth should the woman be crying?! Or was he walking up to her, gently rubbing her on the shoulder and speaking softly into her ear to bring comfort? The clue for me is in the words beforehand – his heart went out to her. I think we can conclude that these we words spoken with love and comfort. But they still jerk a little when we hear them. We chatted at length about this in the Facebook group, about whether it would be counter-cultural to ask a widow to essentially stop grieving. And it would have been odd for someone to say those words then. But Jesus knows what is coming next, and so it isn’t with superiority or patronising that he says those words, it is with hope and love.
How would the woman have felt hearing those words coming from Jesus? I’m not sure. I think confusion probably would have been right up there on the list! Would she have known who Jesus was or recognised him when consumed in her own grief? Probably not. She probably thought he was just a passerby offering condolences. Little did she know what was coming next!
Stepping in to this woman’s shoes was hard – a widow now also grieving for her son does not sit easy with any of us. Some amazing women in our Facebook Community shared their own stories of grief, and as someone who has not experienced that personally it is so hard to even be able to understand the emotions this woman would be going through. But she was not alone. The great strength of this verse is in the community – the large crowd who are going through this with her. Grieving together as a community, walking this road with her. I think that would have been a comfort to her in that time. It got me thinking about how we truly love, comfort and support those around us who are grieving. Do we travel that journey with them? Do we gather around them and hold them up when they can’t carry on? Or do we react in a patronising way, with platitudes or anger that they are not moving on? Let us take a few quiet moments today to really think about that, and perhaps to think about how we can consider better those who might be grieving around us this Christmas.
Our final week of this series and of 2019!! We will be finishing off the story of the widow of Nain by meditating on this verse:
“Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.” Luke 7:14-15
I will be with you Live on Facebook at 9pm tomorrow night, and then next Sunday we will have a new Mummy Meditations Champion writing up the final summary post (I’m so excited!!!!), so you don’t want to miss that!