Persistence

17 October 2010
Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 24C (RCL)

Jeremiah 31:27-34
Psalm 119:97-104
2 Timothy 3:14 — 4:5
Luke 18:1-8

During the 1970s and 80s, during the “Dirty War” in Argentina, the “Mothers of the Disappeared” marched silently around the Plaza de Mayo in Beunos Aires with pictures of their disappeared children. Their silent witness eventually shamed the world, and helped to bring down the military junta in Argentina. The Mothers held there last march in 2006, saying that government was no longer indifferent to the fate of the disappeared, and was in fact trying to find bodies and fates of the many thousands who had simply been disappeared.

Seems to me, they are like the widow in this story from Luke. The judge says “Because this widow is making trouble for me, I will do her right, lest in the end, by her coming, she gives me a black eye.” (or a slap in the face). The NRSV’s translation is very weak. Just like the mothers gave the government of Argentina a black eye.

So, in this parable, we are not to see God as the judge. It is an argument from lesser to greater. If even the judge, then imagine God. But what I like about it, is that both the widow and the judge have their part in working justice in this situation. By hanging together, they work out God’s purpose.

The passage from Jeremiah is another wonderful passage. God will bring the people back from Exile and plant them and their animals in the land again. And God will not go back to the old covenant, which they broke, but make a new covenant, written on their hearts (ouch!). No longer will anyone have to teach the people about God, because they (we) will all know God. We won’t need judges to interpret the law for us, because it will be on our hearts.

I think both of these lessons point to the importance of working out God’s justice together in community, even with people we may not like (surely the judge and the widow didn’t like each other). If God’s law is written on our hearts, will have to work together to figure it out.

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