Jesus' resurrection depicted in stained glass window
Healthy Relationships class
The diploma class talks about death and resurrection
One of the Pastoral Care for Women team members was sick so I taught her Healthy Relationships class at the last minute. “Doris”, one of the students in the class is going through a crisis and began crying almost as soon as the class began. In addition to severe physical problems, her ex-husband “accidentally” ran into her on the street (despite a restraining order) and proceeded to verbally rip her apart.
“Doris” feels at rock bottom, powerless to defend herself in the moment of the verbal attack. She is glad that she has joined this class and a support group at her church which help her keep going. Around our regular class content, her classmates kept reassuring her that the insults hurled at her were untrue and that God would help her overcome this painful period. We all tried to encourage her using biblical truths.
The diploma level class of Pastoral Care for Women is given at the same time as the Healthy Relationships course so I was able sit in on the final half-hour of the diploma class based on three resurrection stories. There is the widow of Zarephath in 1 Kings 17, the Shunammite woman in 2 Kings 4 and the widow of Nain in Luke 7.
As we neared Easter, this was an interesting lesson. All three of these women lost their only sons, a terrible tragedy. Yet the Old Testament women threw themselves at the feet of God’s prophet (Elijah and Elisha) – they had nothing else to lose. In each case, the prophet also threw himself on top of the child and God’s mercy, praying that life would be restored. God worked a miracle in both cases. In the New Testament story, the widow was on her way to her son’s burial, crying, and Jesus himself had compassion on her and brought her son back to life.
Death and new life: these are cycles in our lives as well. Crises (times of loss and conflict) often find us in a downward spiral and then we hit bottom. It is a kind of death. When we have nothing else to lose, we, like the women in the story throw ourselves at God’s feet. We finally take the risk of asking for help, and God is ready to help us recover, to work a miracle, to bring us back from death.
That class was encouraging and challenging: There is life after death, recovery after hitting rock bottom. The truth is that we have a powerful and life-giving God and sometimes we are called to act as mediators (as the prophets did) in the devastating time of death and the hard process of "resurrection", accompanying the anguished around us as God works in their lives.
As I remembered “Doris” in her crisis and how the class
rallied around her with encouragement, I feel privileged to be part of this
ministry of accompaniment and hope. You, too, are partners in this ministry through your gifts and prayers, part of the life-giving process.
At this Easter, I wish for you the assurance of Jesus Christ’s life-giving resurrection power operating in your life as you put yourself in His hands. May you also be willing to be God’s hope-bearing agents as we accompany one another through life’s ups and downs.