29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 16, 2016
About 10 minutes after worship ends, we’ll gather together for Aftertalk. We hope you’ll join us! Bring your questions, stories, insights, doubts, musings, imaginings and whatever else you need. Join us for some fellowship, laughter and ample space for reflection and real questions to help us reflect on the implications of our faith and make the transition from worship to world.
Readings for this Sunday:
Jeremiah 31:27-34 • Psalm 119:97-104 • 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5 • Luke 18:1-8
Hearts and Minds
Timothy is a third generation Christian who has been marinated in the gospel: "continue in what you have learned and firmly believed." There's something here about the power of faith, that is, trusting in the reliability and wisdom of Jesus' gospel, even when facts on the ground cast a shadow of doubt over it. Surely we can relate in an upside-down time when much of what we call our Christian culture seems to abandon notions of goodwill, human dignity, and virtue for other (more political?) considerations.
In his response to the community, Timothy clearly struggles over how Christian communities like his could not find themselves aligned with people like the widow in Jesus' parable. The only support she seems to have in the story is that of an "unjust" judge who is not defending her out of any sense of moral obligation, but simply because he is tired of hearing from her. Where are the others, we might ask, who should be helping her? Where is her community of support?
And yet, we know there is a community, even if it seems to wane in different seasons. There is a God who grants justice, who watches over the widow and the orphan and the oppressed, who loves equally all people, yet seems to regard the poor as more equal than others.
Could the church be the persistent woman in this story and if so how do we continue to ask for what is needed. And where might we look for support? Might it come in unexpected places?
Resources for Reflection
Shannon L. Alder, 21st century
"You will face your greatest opposition when you are closest to your biggest miracle."
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World, 20th century
"Chronic remorse, as all the moralists are agreed, is a most undesirable sentiment. If you have behaved badly, repent, make what amends you can and address yourself to the task of behaving better next time. On no account brood over your wrongdoing. Rolling in the muck is not the best way of getting clean."
Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes, 20th century
"Calvin: 'There's no problem so awful, that you can't add some guilt to it and make it even worse."
Ravi Zacharias, Recapture the Wonder, 20th century
"The world is larger and more beautiful than my little struggle."
Where is the widow's community of support?
Listen here as our own Maggie Breen talks with Serve Seattle. Serve Seattle is a program of Union Gospel Mission. They train and support young people as interns serving the vulnerable in Seattle. The conversation is maybe an example of folks from across the theological landscape finding support in each other as they think about what is needed in their community.
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