Sunday 7 November 2021

One of the hassles that comes from posting a lot yesterday — some of which was fast, such as a song that had more to do with anger and the duty to disobey injustice, or quoting others, came from what is going on right now. We are in the storm, and things change so fast. What was legal on the 35th of October is illegal today. What was policy today is denied tomorrow. You really cannot trust our leadership.

The collect for today is double, and the second prayer is that we have the leaders we need, not the leaders we deserve.

Where we need to be is without fear, being generous, doing our dity, even if tomorrow it is taken away. Consider the widow: she had just enough for a final meal, not for a prophet. But the prophet predicted she would survive the famine. Note also that the widow was a Phoenician, not a Jew.

And note that the religious teachers, approved by the state, were those who destroyed widows and perpetuated injustice. For those called to lead the flock of Christ — and I thank God I warm a pew — this is a warning. When we agree with oppression and injustice, our status will not save us.

Collect One

O Lord, we beseech thee,
absolve thy people from their offences;
that through thy bountiful goodness
we may all be delivered from the bonds of those sins,
which by our frailty we have committed;
Grant this, O heavenly Father, for Jesus Christ’s sake,
our blessed Lord and Saviour.

Collect Two

Almighty Father,
whose will is to restore all things
in your beloved Son, the king of all:
Govern the hearts and minds of those in authority,
and bring the families of the nations,
divided and torn apart by the ravages of sin,
to be subject to his just and gentle rule;
who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

1 Kings 17:8-16

8 Then the word of the Lord came to him, 9 “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to feed you.” 10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.” 11 And as she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” 12 And she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. And now I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die.” 13 And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said. But first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterwards make something for yourself and your son. 14 For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth.’” 15 And she went and did as Elijah said. And she and he and her household ate for many days. 16 The jar of flour was not spent, neither did the jug of oil become empty, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by Elijah.

Hebrews 9:24-28

24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgement, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

Mark 12:38-44

38 And in his teaching he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes and like greetings in the market-places 39 and have the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honour at feasts, 40 who devour widows’ houses and for a pretence make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”

41 And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny.[a] 43 And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 44 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

One of the things widows need to survive is enough coin to buy food. Inflation robs them of coin. Famines rob them of food. The widow in the temple was akin to the widow in Zarepath, she was giving to God what she had,, al of it.

God notices that more than the virtue signals. More than the displays of power, our worship, our marketing, our external piety. It is far better to provide for the widows than force them into what the world demands of them — because our leader’s promises are less stable than a sand dune.

Christ is our saviour, and therefore we do not need to fear death, as the pagans do. For all our sins have been dealt with, and Christ will take us home.

At this time, when the world thinks it can force us into taking treatments they no are evil, we need to consider not this world but the next.

And trust in God. Which will drive out our fear.