The Rev’d Alison Roberts
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The Widow’s Offering
He looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. He said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them, for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.”
Today’s Gospel reading invites us as the reader to peek open a door into an ancient alien world with startling different values and beliefs that informed how they lived day to day.
You’ve arrived at a bustling Jewish temple, and like arriving in any new destination you find the sights, and sounds the exotic aromas momentarily punctuate and overwhelm the moment till you find your bearings. Then you start to look around and take in what you were blind to before, you are noticing that there are hardly any women, and maybe your curiosity is aroused?
Because back in Jesus’ time women would have been mostly restricted to their homes, and further restricted in thought or actions. Even going to the market would have been considered a man’s task. Women’s invisibility meant that no one would object to their illiteracy as anything beyond affirming their impoverished position and place in society. For this was time when women’s expectations always seem so incomprehensible to what we today believe, understand, and accept in the way both men and women can live their lives. We have impressive female professional football and rugby teams. Women in leadership roles is no longer a big deal. The world changes and our understanding and beliefs are continually evolving since Christs time. Proved well by my thirteen-year-old granddaughter who wows me regularly with her ability to seeing no barriers to her gender.
But let’s not get carried away in thinking we are a better society, because we know our world is far from perfect and that its full of injustice, intolerance, and greed.
And this is important to note in the context of Luke’s Gospel Jesus notices a poverty-stricken widow. We know she gave all she had, and that Jesus acknowledged her gift as being more valuable than anything a rich person would give. Note that the rich were usually men.
So, whilst Luke’s story of The Widows Mites shows our need to be committed and generous with our giving; it also reminds us about Gods inclusivity that like or not is political. For with Christ, we have the image of the most radical revolutionary who challenged the ought’s, musts, and should of his day. Today it is Christ’s image that beckons us to be more like him, to look, to notice and to call out!
‘If you become aware of any individual degrading another then show moral courage and take a stand against it…The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.’
Rosie Harper & Alan Wilson ‘To Heal and Not To Hurt’
In this moment
draw me to yourself, Lord,
and make me aware
not so much of what I’ve given
as of all I have received
and so have yet to share.
Send me forth
in power and gladness
and with great courage
to live out in the world
what I pray and profess,
that, in sharing,
I may do justice,
grow in love,
and your world now,
and you forever. Amen