Our daughter had an automobile accident recently. It's always frightening to get the phone call from your child that begins with "I've had an accident." She wasn't hurt. This is familiar territory for this family. We've lost cars through collisions before.
I read from Luke 7 earlier this week. The gospel lesson in the Daily Office depicted two miracles - the healing of the centurion's slave by the authoritative word of Jesus, and the raising of a widow's son from the dead in Nain. Two terrific stories.
The widow's son's resurrection was particularly great. Jesus, his disciples and a large crowd following were coming into town. The funeral procession was followed by a large crowd from town. Jesus' crowd came in with hope, expectation and excitement. The widow's crowd came out with a spirit of mourning and sorrow, without hope but with knowledge of what death can do. Jesus' crowd followed knowing what he could do.
The two crowds collided; the clash of two world views. What happens usually in this world is that one crowd passes the other - one coming in and one coming out. The same day I read from Luke 7 I also read Psalm 121: 8, "The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and forever more."
The disruption of the two ships, trains, buses passing one another as a normal occurrence was the compassion of Jesus that resulted in the collision. His compassion for the widow changed the two way traffic pattern into an accident scene. "Do not weep," Jesus said to the widow he loved at the point of impact. "Young man, I say to you, rise," he said to the passenger of the bier heading for a tomb that will not be occupied today.
Collisions create fear. "Fear seized all of them, and they glorified God." April and I would have preferred Anna avoided the accident, but it was unavoidable. The two way traffic in and out of Nain could be understood providentially in light of Psalm 121. The Lord secures our coming and going. All sounds reasonable until Jesus shows up. His compassion arrests hopelessness, seizes death by the throat, and the separate crowds become one in fear and worship.
What accidents have you witnessed? What collisions have sent tremors through your very being because Jesus had arrived? Upon his arrival, his compassion interrupted all that was normal, brought heaven to earth and a healthy fear gripped you like an embrace from a new friend. We're due many more collisions.