Jesus told them a story showing that it was necessary for them
to pray consistently and never quit. He said, "There was
once a judge in some city who never gave God a thought and cared
nothing for people. A widow in that city kept after him: 'My
rights are being violated. Protect me!'
"He never gave her the time of day. But after this went
on and on he said to himself, 'I care nothing what God thinks,
even less what people think. But because this widow won't quit
badgering me, I'd better do something and see that she gets justice
-- otherwise I'm going to end up beaten black-and-blue by her
Then the Master said, "Do you hear what that judge, corrupt
as he is, is saying? So what makes you think God won't step in
and work justice for his chosen people, who continue to cry out
for help? Won't he stick up for them? I assure you, he will.
He will not drag his feet. But how much of that kind of persistent
faith will the Son of Man find on the earth when he returns?"
<The Message >
The Christian Community Bible comments: "'A judge
who does not regard people' -- many people seeing what is unjust
and absurd in life, see God this way."
This view is not far from disappointed literalists or fundamentalist
when God does not smite their favorite hate targets. This view
is not far from bitter atheists.
And, like it or not, this view is not far from "Christians"
-- particularly those who have not kept up their spiritual disciplines,
community life, and life-long learning. All three of these contain
antidotes to the despair of having bad things come to supposedly
good people. May we preach truth to despair.
It's always fun to see the high-and-mighty get theirs. A judge
who doesn't know about restraining orders is a hoot. A judge
who exaggerates persistence into a physical beating is next to
a laughing stock. This is farce at its best. Can't you see the
widow popping out of a garbage can when the judge goes to toss
away a banana peel. Then catch her honking while the judge sits
at a light and her tailgating him for miles after that. There
she is spitting in his soup when he is out for a meal. Aren't
anachronisms great! Great story, Jesus.
Even through the weirdness of the story comes the question about
persistent faith. As you think about the roller-coaster you have
been on since September 11, how persistent is your faith? How
does it compare with the persistence of your anger? or sadness?
What actions are you participating in which will build up the
supply of faith that it might better see us through good times
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