Hope Steps Forth


The story of the meeting at the cemetery between Jesus and the widow of Nain calls for a closer look with each reading. The funeral procession halts before Jesus. He speaks to the dead young man, who awakens from death, and all express fear of and praise to the Lord. In the ordinary course of events, the young man would have been buried, and his life course, birth to death, would have been completed. Fortunately, there is also an extraordinary course of events, determined by hope and the nature of hope, that gives this story a new life. “We believe in the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.” This story underlines the fact that our confession is not without foundation. Here is an illustration of the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. A hope shared by vast multitudes is that each will meet in heaven after death to live eternally in the abiding presence of the Lord. In this story, that hope comes forward to meet us in this life. Where the divine stands, there heaven abides. The young man enters the presence of the divine, comes face to face with the divine, and is transformed forever. We are told that no one can look upon the face of the divine and live. To stand before the Source and Origin is to be drawn into it fully and completely and to be absorbed, re-integrated into the place of Origin and Departure. It is in essence “to lose oneself.” It is only in losing oneself in the Source that the human finds itself as free and freely living. Because no one can look upon the face of the divine and live, the divine can encounter us only by becoming other that itself. The divine protects us by transforming itself into its otherness in order to embrace us and draw us into its Oneness. The divine becomes human, for us and for our salvation, and embraces us, its otherness being the self-sameness of the human. We name this the incarnation. At the cemetery, the dis-carnate meets the in-carnate, and in the encounter, heaven dawns upon the procession, and the life of the world to come

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