About 40 years ago, in 1982, in Moscow, at the funeral of Leonid Brezhnev, the leader of the Soviet Union, one of the greatest signs of hope in the resurrection of the body took place.

The Soviet Union was one of the cruellest oppressors of religious faith in the history of the world. There were brass bands, parades, steel helmets, but not a hint of any religious faith anywhere. At the very last moment before the Brezhnev coffin was to be closed, his wife Victoria, who was standing next to it, leaned over and made a big sign of the Cross over Leonid’s body.

At the very centre of atheistic communism no one could deny that, apart of the Risen Lord Jesus Christ, there was no answer to the painful problem of death.

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In the gospel of St Luke (7:11-16) we read about the widow from Nain. Her husband has died, and Jesus comes across the funeral procession of her only son. Jesus shows us the key as to the way in which we might react when we come face to face with death ourselves.

It is important to note, that the widow or anyone else in the procession, did not ask for anything from Jesus. They show no outward faith or expectation. What Jesus does, is simply, grace, which comes from the bottom of His heart. The miracle is totally Jesus’ compassion and love.

Jesus feels deeply for the woman’s pain. Jesus always feels compassion when He confronts human sorrow and need. This brings us hope. We might feel that nobody understands our despair. To know that someone else cares about us, brings us at least a bit of hope. We are not alone. Jesus cares and understands.

Jesus tells the women to stop crying. He asks the women to put her trust in Him. He will help!

We too, as Christians and witnesses of Christ must become agents of compassion for the lost and needy in our lives. We must pray so that we can be like Christ.

When we show compassion, it often opens other peoples’ hearts, to hear the truth of the bible for themselves.

We never know when we will encounter someone who is spiritually dead. If we follow the example of Jesus, we might be surprised to learn how we can positively influence someone.

There are so many people living in spiritually distressed lives. Jesus expects each of us to be His agents of compassion and love. I wonder how many lives Victoria Brezhnev touched with her simple gesture?