“True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. ” ― Martin Luther King Jr.: (1929 –1968: was an American Baptist minister, humanitarian, and leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement)
Scripture Text: (1 KGS 17:17-24)
Elijah went to Zarephath of Sidon to the house of a widow.
The son of the mistress of the house fell sick,
and his sickness grew more severe until he stopped breathing.
So she said to Elijah,
“Why have you done this to me, O man of God?
Have you come to me to call attention to my guilt
and to kill my son?”
Elijah said to her, “Give me your son.”
Taking him from her lap, he carried the son to the upper room
where he was staying, and put him on his bed.
Elijah called out to the LORD:
“O LORD, my God,
will you afflict even the widow with whom I am staying
by killing her son?”
Then he stretched himself out upon the child three times
and called out to the LORD:
“O LORD, my God,
let the life breath return to the body of this child.”
The LORD heard the prayer of Elijah;
the life breath returned to the child’s body and he revived.
Taking the child, Elijah brought him down into the house
from the upper room and gave him to his mother.
Elijah said to her, “See! Your son is alive.”
The woman replied to Elijah,
“Now indeed I know that you are a man of God.
The word of the LORD comes truly from your mouth.”
When you look at this story what catches your attention? Perhaps it is the details around how the “miracle” happens? Or is it the healing power of the holy man? Who in the story do you find yourself identifying with: the widow, the holy man, or the son? If you take a closer look, this scripture passage describes how a holy man, Elijah, is concerned with the widow, but is it only the need to do something about her grief? One must keep in mind the historical context of when this passage in the Old Testament was written. The widow lives in a very patriarchal society where men have all the rights and women don’t have any rights. For her to lose her son is for her to lose the only connection she would have in her society, which would give her identity, voice, status, rights or even a legal advocate.
Since we are an “Easter people” thus the question we are left with is how do we discover the power of compassion to do something about the situations that need more life?