At that time, Jesus went into a city that is called Naim: and there went with him his disciples and a great multitude. And when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold a dead man was carried out, the only son of his mother: and she was a widow. And a great multitude of the city was with her. Whom when the Lord had seen, being moved with mercy towards her, he said to her: “Weep not.” And he came near and touched the bier. And they that carried it stood still. And he said: “Young man, I say to thee, arise.” And he that was dead sat up and began to speak. And he gave him to his mother. And there came a fear upon them all: and they glorified God saying: “A great prophet is risen up among us: and, God hath visited his people.” Luke 7:11-16
Seven hours ago, I received the direction to self isolate and get tested immediately for covid 19. I’m literally at the point now where I’m not phased. It’s simply another thing in the way that needs to get done.
While we were waiting in line, four very vocal people waved signs, convinced that the virus isn’t real. I watched uncomfortably from my partner’s car as one woman shook her sign, pointed at a car, and screamed violently. It didn’t make the process any easier for me, and I’m sure it wasn’t easy for others.
I have a cough, which isn’t unusual given this time of year. I usually get a cough when the snow melts. I have a head-ache, runny nose. Most likely, it’s just a cold. But given the circumstances, it’s important to follow the protocols.
The last time I had to self isolate, it was excruciating. But it’s what needs to be done. Given it’s the time of year that it is, I’m going to try and focus more on prayer, reflection, contemplation. I’m set to get my results back in two days, and provided I’m symptom free two days after a negative result, I can go back to work.
There are a lot of people in pain right now–the pandemic for many of us has taken people we love dearly. For me, and other workers, it’s caused a lot of extra stress and in many ways made it more challenging to self care.
How easy it would be if a magic cure would simply come and sweep all this away.
A great multitude followed Jesus into the city, and likewise, a throng followed the widow and her dead son out to meet Him. Those following did so because they believed, perhaps, that he was the messiah. Or maybe they followed out of a desire to watch a miracle take place. Perhaps the throng following the widow was a group of mourners, but I suspect in reality that there were 14 people in the crowd that new why they were there. The mother, alone in the world without a son, approaching with the last bit of hope in the face of doubt, hoping the stories that she’d heard of Jesus were true. The twelve, following because they were compelled to do so as the chosen, and Jesus, knowing the mother’s heart before she even saw Him. He was moved with mercy towards her. It does not suggest that he wept, as it does in the case of Lazarus. Yet, He was moved to act, and he did.
The crowd was afraid. If they had come with faith in their hearts, would they have felt fear when they praised God? The sense I have in reading this passage is that they were there to witness a miracle, in the same way that people listen to police scanners. They wanted a shock moment. They wanted to feel alive. Yet, what they witnessed stirred them to fear, to respect in awe and trembling.
Have we become numb?
The miracles in the New Testament are not things we see today. If the miracle of the sun occurred today in Fatima, would we experience the same fear and awe? Or does God whisper quietly now, working quiet miracles through our lives like threads in a tapestry?
I heard a robin two mornings ago. When a friend posted a picture, I felt that I wasn’t completely crazy–and I felt a kind of awe and fear. The miracle of spring begins again. My tomato plants are sprouting, and the flowers that I planted yesterday already have shot roots out into the soil cups I planted them in. I feel fear, and awe.
The sky last night was so clear–not clear enough to see the milky way, but clear enough that it felt brighter than it has in years. I felt a moment of awe, and fear.
Because we’re conditioned, we must work to see God at work around us. It takes practice.
These next few days in quarantine I’m taking as a retreat to contemplate the mystery of the hidden miracles in our lives, in my life, and to give thanks for them.