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Saturday, December 5, 2020

Pastor Nelda’s Notes: The poor widow …

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In this gospel lesson, Jesus sees beyond the surface. Jesus looks deeply through and unmasks the conscious intensions of the religious-authority. His ability to read the signs of the times resulted in his assassination. In this passage there was an unmasking of the oppressive conversations of that time and even for our time. {{more: continue …}}
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The wealthy and powerful in every society have been ?bestowed? with intelligence, wisdom, decency, and, in many cases as it was in Jesus? day, as having been blessed by God. One example for us is our treatment of celebrities. Regardless of their educational status or areas of expertise, celebrities are treated as if they have knowledge to impart to us all simply because they are famous, powerful, and generally rich.
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Whether or not one is a celebrity, if a person is wealthy we tend to believe that they are in some ways superior to the poor and working class. We assume all is OK with the affluent. We never consider that underlying all the glamour and beauty lies a moral uncleanliness that has been produced by ill-gotten wealth power and wealth.
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As he taught, he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets! They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance saying long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation” (Mark 12:38-40).
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If we are honest, we can probably admit that there is a little prosperity gospel influence in all of us. We make the assumption that those of the higher economic strata are automatically good people, good Christians, smart and honest. My experience has been that the church community gives privilege to the economically well-off parishioners. In fact, we praised those who can give big sums of money to the church, while failing to recognize the average and more-humble contributions to our church treasury.
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Maybe we need to be reminded that most of the philanthropy that takes place is driven and given by the middle and working classes. Jesus is not persuaded by the deceptions of the scribes? performances, which is evidenced when he says: ?A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, ?Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on?” (Mark 12:42-44). It is truly sad that the church has allowed itself to behave like the scribes who Jesus condemned, inadvertently uplifting wealth and power to prominence rather than exalting the generosity of spirit among the least of these.
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Jesus was hung on the cross because he dared to unravel the belief that maintained the elites in power. I wonder what might be the consequences if we preached from the perspective of the widow, the orphan, the migrant, the immigrant, the poor. I will follow Jesus in exalting the spiritual riches of the widow.
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Join us on Sunday as we explore the story of the “Widow’s Mite”
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“I don’t know how, but I know WHO!”
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Peace,
Pastor Nelda

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