Luke 7:11-17 (NRSV)
Soon afterwards Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went with him.  As he approached the gate of the town, a man who had died was being carried out. He was his mother’s only son, and she was a widow; and with her was a large crowd from the town.  When the Lord saw her, he had compassion for her and said to her, “Do not weep.”  Then he came forward and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, rise!”  The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.  Fear seized all of them; and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has risen among us!” and “God has looked favorably on his people!”  This word about him spread throughout Judea and all the surrounding country.

Two miracles that day.

“‘Young man, I say to you, rise!’  The dead man sat up and began to speak . . .”

But before that, there is this, “When the Lord saw her . . . .”

We are told that “a large crowd went with Jesus,” and there was also a large crowd with the funeral procession.  Yet in the midst of two large crowds, Jesus sees her. Her. He saw her. One widow. One human being. One child of God.

He was doing it all the time.  He noticed Matthew sitting at the tax table. He saw Zacchaeus up in the tree. He noticed Peter and James and John who were fishing. He saw the children with their mothers. Not any of these were high on the social or economic ladder. Children, tax collectors, fishermen. And widows. Jesus saw them.

Oh, to be seen. To have someone finally see you.

1965-1969.  Luther Seminary. There were 100 men in our class. There were also three women. They came with no promise of ordination, no promise that the Church would see them.

Barbara Andrews. Dawn Proux. Beverly Burkum Allert.

Their presence at Luther Seminary and their intention to seek ordination prompted ALC President Fredrik Schiotz to ask the Lutheran Council in the USA to make a study of women’s ordination. Dr. Schiotz saw them. Someone finally saw them. They had to wave first.

Three brave women who made this world better for other women, that is true. They also made better the whole Church of Jesus Christ.

A miracle is defined as a remarkable, extraordinary event, causing one to wonder, to be surprised, to smile. On that day long ago, there was a widow, a mother whose son was returned to her. Because Jesus saw her. I am pretty sure she was surprised. And pretty sure she smiled, laughed even.
Another meaning of miracle is “a wonderful example.”  So Jesus has set for us a “wonderful example.” There are people who are considered unimportant, simply numbers to be counted, of little value. The work of the Church of Jesus Christ is to see them.

And not get distracted by the crowds.

I invite you to once more read, then say the names, giving thanks to God.

  • Barbara Andrews (1935-1978), the first woman ordained by the American Lutheran Church (ALC) in 1970.
  • Dawn Proux (1943-l997), the third woman ordained by the ALC in 1974.
  • Beverly Burkum Allert (1943-), the fourth woman ordained by the Lutheran Church in America (LCA) in 1974.


Pastor Gary A. Westgard, retired
Yankton, SD

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