October 17, 2010
This has been a good, hard year. Even the good times have been difficult, and even the difficult times have been good.
Many of us have had personal struggles. We have had struggles with our jobs, struggles with finding a job, struggles with figuring out what to do next, struggles with our faith, struggles with our health, struggles with our identity and self-worth.
Many of us have also had family struggles. We have lost fathers and grandfathers. We have had family in the hospital. We have had new babies, with all of those joys and stresses. We have had family conflicts and unspoken pains and griefs.
We have also experienced some hard times as a church. The cycle of coming and going has been unbalanced on the going side lately. We bless them as they follow God’s leading, but we grieve for the hole they leave behind. Others in our church are struggling to stay connected even though they’re staying in Korea.
In the midst of all of these changes and struggles, we can feel overwhelmed, depressed, powerless or hopeless. We might feel a lot like a widow in the first century. In that era, a widow was the iconic symbol of a helpless sufferer - especially if she was poor, especially if she had no close male relatives, especially if someone wronged her.
That is the case for the woman in our Gospel lesson. She is a widow. She is poor. She can’t even afford the court fees or bribes to get the judge to hear her case. She is alone. Courtrooms were places for men, but she can’t find a male relative to go into the courtroom to plead her case. And she has been wronged. Probably someone has taken advantage of her vulnerability and taken some of the little bit that she has left. She is desperate for justice.
Read Luke 18:1-8.
The word “justice” is repeated four times. “Give me justice.” “I’m going to see that she gets justice.” Even the unjust judge “gave her justice in the end.” “God will surely give justice to his chosen people.” What is this “justice” about? The word means to vindicate, to confirm, to justify, to uphold, to find innocent.
In this world, as we follow the way of Christ, we can often wonder if we’re doing the right thing. Is it really the right thing to give rather than to keep?
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