Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of November 27, 2011
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As one of the on-going ministries of Chi Rho Press,
here is a selection from our book of daily devotions,
"Living as the Beloved: One Day at a Time," by the
Rev. Dr. Sandra Bochonok.
Please read the Scripture passage and Dr. Bochonok's
meditation. We hope you will be blessed.
Thank you for forwarding this to your friends.
Faith in the face of death
"Jesus allowed no one to follow him except Peter,
James, and John, the brother of James. When they
came to the house of the leader of the synagogue,
he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing
loudly. When he had entered, he said to them,
'Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child
is not dead but sleeping.' And they laughed at him.
Then Jesus put them all outside, and took the
child's father and mother and those who were with
him, and went in where the child was."
While there is life, there is hope. Hope and faith
are closely intertwined. But hopeful faith is not
always easy. While faith in Jesus can personally
sustain and uplift us, it can also bring us into
experiences of public contempt and ridicule. This
was the situation of Jesus and Jairus as they arrived
at the home of the synagogue ruler.
The Bible mentions that upon his arrival, Jesus was
greeted with the sight and sounds of many grieving
people. The bad news had traveled fast. Concerned
relatives, friends, and neighbors quickly came to
mourn when Jairus' little girl died. Their custom
was to gather for several days and nights of noisy
lamentations. Comforting the bereaved was sincerely
practiced in Judaism as a sacred duty.
The air was filled with crying and loud wailing. Even
though their religion taught the mourners their deaths
were precious in the sight of God (Psalm 116:15), the
cruel finality of death could not be denied. The loud
lamentations were a way of honoring their sacred dead
and paying final respects. Truly, death is universally
our feared, dreaded, and even hated foe.
In the midst of all this commotion, Jesus calmly told
the gathered crowd to stop grieving. The child, he
said, was not dead. The little girl was only sleeping.
The mourners laughed in unbelief and ridicule. Jesus
must be crazy. The little girl's corpse was lying in
her bedroom in full view. Already her small body was
growing cold. According to their custom, she would
need to be quickly buried before her body began
decomposing in the Middle Eastern heat.
Their lack of belief and mocking laughter did not faze
Jesus. He knew the crowd did not have the eyes of
faith to see the miracle he was about to perform.
Perhaps they were so blinded by sorrow, they could
not see with the eyes of faith.
Whatever reason for their disbelief, Jesus quietly but
firmly shooed them away. When the scoffing mourners
had left, only then would Jesus enter the room where
the little girl's body was located, accompanied only
by three of his faithful disciples and the bereaved
parents. The disciples and grieving parents breathlessly
waited to see what Jesus would do next.
Put yourself in this story. Do you find yourself with
the mocking crowd or with Jesus by the little girl's
body? Take a moment to examine your beliefs about
death and life after death. Do you believe Jesus can
raise someone from the dead? Is this story just another
timeless tragedy of parents outliving a child?
Figuratively walk in the sandals of these bereaved
parents and tell this story in your own words. Let
it become part of your prayer.
Could it be possible, O God, that someone could
miraculously be raised from the dead? Is it possible
that Jesus is more than a miraculous healer? Is it
true that there is hope beyond the grave? Give us
the eyes of faith needed to find divine hope in the
face of death. Amen.
Grace and peace,
Chi Rho Press
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