Sunday 20th October 2019
As the story goes widows are submissive and needy and judges corrupt and powerful; but Jesus turns this upside down in his parable despite the efforts of the translators. This widow is rude and vengeful; the judge feels threatened by her violence. The Greek for justice is vengeance (ekdikeo) and where the translation says “wear out” the Greek uses a term from boxing which is more correctly understood as doing violence to the judge. Widows certainly don’t seem to have been that submissive in New Testament times if we read our Bibles and the problems they caused to the church. And what of the judge? He was prepared to serve out vengeance without a trial so as to avoid work.
I see Jesus preparing the followers for the times to come when they would need to be earnest in their prayer, a time when judges would turn against them to keep the peace.
Followers of Jesus need to be faithful to the message of salvation and persevere in the same measure the vengeful, disrespectful widow does. And surely, God is the source of our help. Our weapons is love and our commitment to each other is to, “…convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching.”
We may find ourselves having to wrestle “…with God and with humans” and may limp away from the fight but we will draw our confidence from the fact that we have seen God face to face in Jesus and he will not abandon us.
… “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.” … The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip.
I lift up my eyes to the hills– from where will my help come?
My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.
He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.
The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.
The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and forevermore.
2 Timothy 3:14-4:5
… All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work. … I solemnly urge you: proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favourable or unfavourable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching
… “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’ For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.'” …
This resource is an offering from The Vanderbilt Divinity Library at: http://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu. New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © Consultation on Common Texts admin. Augsburg Fortress. Reproduced by permission.
As God leads, let us be constant in our prayer for
· Creation, humanity, those in authority;
· The local community;
· Those who suffer;
· Our community.
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.
The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.