June 5, 2016 - Unity

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.

1 Kings 17:17-22

The really interesting thing about this passage is not that Jesus also performs the miracle of raising a child from the dead (Luke 7:11-17) but that Jesus mentions this episode in a homily he gives in the synagogue in his hometown of Nazareth (Luke 4:26).  He notes that Elijah raised this Phoenician boy from the dead while many children in drought-stricken Israel had also died but were not raised.   Enraged that Jesus would suggest God has concern for people other than them, they try to throw him off a cliff.  Faith gets accused of being a force for exclusion, division and violence.  Indeed, there will always be people like the Nazoreans of the story who interpret Scripture that way.  But it's crucial to keep in mind, they are the villains of this narrative. The overarching message of faith – championed by Moses, Jesus and Muhammad - is one of inclusion, unity, and peace.