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Pentecost XIX, Year C: The Widow's Might

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  • Read the text and put 18:1 at the end.
  • This is an interesting way to think about needing to pray and not losing heart.
    • Parables like this don’t exactly ooze an overwhelming shout - this isn’t much of a victory.
    • The widow: would be alone, without a whole lot of power in society
    • The judge: is the opposite of the great commandment in a position of power.
    • The widow shows up, and shows up, and shows up. Indefinite time
    • And the judge finally changes his mind. Why?
      • “She’s causing me trouble."
      • “Wear me out”: exhaust someone, imagined as a punch in the eye.
    • The last three verses - the pronouncements and the second guess.
      • Yes, God will do it! God will grant justice!
      • But will we be around when God does?
  • So how does this become a parable for praying always and not losing heart?
    • That even the powerless can do something.
      • The widow alone was insignificant compared to the judge. She would have had nothing.
      • She did what she could - she showed up. She pleaded her case. She said what she wanted.
      • We are enough.
      • And we don’t need to be heroic.
    • That persuasion isn’t always the point.
      • This is where evangelism can be anxiety producing.
      • I have to say the right thing in order to convince someone.
      • The judge was not convinced of anything but his own self-preservation, and yet justice happened.
      • We shouldn’t discount this as a legitimate approach to serving in the kingdom. In already here and not yet, there can be some space between “thy Kingdom come” and “every knee will bow and every tongue confess"
      • And again, it’s not ours to do the convincing. That’s God’s work, the Spirit’s work. Our job is to...
    • That it’s showing up over and over again that matters.
      • There’s an indefinite time between when the widow came and the judge changes his mind.
      • There is an indefinite time in God’s quickly.
      • We forget at times that our time frame is as eternal as God’s.
    • But when the change happens, it is worth the celebration.
      • Because it’s the places where God’s presence is a bit more visible:
        • Rowan Williams:
          • “Can we imagine certain circumstances in which the action of God in relation to … the world is, to use a rather weak analogy, … closer to the surface than it habitually is?”
          • We may not be able to understand what the rule of that is, or the regularity of that is, but if what is sustaining every reality is the energy, the action, of God, then is it so difficult to believe that from God’s point of view and not ours, there are bits of the universal order where the fabric is thinner, where the coming together of certain conditions makes it possible for the act of God to be a little more transparent? And when we talk of miracle, it’s that.
      • As we show up, the moments where things happen become the moments where we actually see God’s action. It’s happening everywhere else, but here’s where it becomes real. The unjust judge giving justice even with bad reason. Who else BUT God makes that happen?
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