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2016-10-16 Trinity 21

SERMON – Trinity 21 16th October

 

Luke this morning has Jesus telling his followers a parable about a Widow and a Judge. It’s a story that teaches a moral or spiritual lesson that Jesus wants his followers to understand

 

There were many widows in Jesus’ time.  They were powerless and among the most vulnerable in society. Many, were without sons to take care of them and they would often fall victim to thieves and other unscrupulous people.  All kinds of laws were created with the sole purpose of protecting widows and so Jesus has selected one of the most vulnerable people in the Jewish world, a symbol of helplessness to serve as his hero/heroine

 

The villain of this story is the Judge. A judge in Israel was a powerful, powerful figure and there was no jury and therefore the Judge had no sense of accountability to any person or God. What he said was the law and there was no right of appeal.

 

In this case one might argue that the judge here, had shirked his duty by not bothering to even hear the case and all this poor widow wanted was justice.  In fact, she was so sure that her case was right and just and true that she kept coming to the judge.

 

This is one of the most vulnerable people of her time standing up to one of the most powerful people of her time, and this must have taken immense courage.  But she would not be silenced for what she knew, was right and proper.

 

Aung San Sui Kyi has sought justice fought for justice for of her life. She has endured decades of house arrest and exile from her family as she struggled for human rights in Burma.

 

Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison waiting for justice. Not for himself only but for all the people of South Africa excluded from justice by apartheid. He could have been freed long before he was,  but he stayed in prison until the government abolished apartheid.  He was offered his freedom years before his final release, but he refused to accept it until apartheid was done away with and black Africans were finally free.

 

Some people are seekers of justice.  Others have the power to grant it.  We who have been baptized, we have made promises, to “continue in the apostles teaching and in the breaking of bread. We have made promises to resist evil,  “to strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being.”

 

We can persist in these promises because God is not a sleeping friend , or an indifferent judge, but One who longs to give bread, and grant justice, to those who ask and search and knock day and night.

 

Every time we remain silent in the presence of injustice, we collude with it

 

Every time we remain silent in the presence of injustice, we promote with it

 

Every time we remain silent in the presence of injustice, We are agreeing with it

 

Edmund Burke, the Irish statesman once said: The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

 

Biblical justice involves making individuals communities, and all creation – whole, by upholding and safeguarding both goodness and impartiality. Justice stands at the centre of true faith and religion

 

 

Let’s return to the story of the widow and the judge and look at relationships. The window clearly knew what her values were and what she stood for.  More than that, she was prepared to stand up for her values and beliefs. Her relationship with herself, and her commitment to getting justice shows her commitment and understanding of her values and in what she believed.

 

And that asks a question about us.

 

What is it that gives us a real sense of purpose?

 

What is it that we would stand up for?

 

Where do we believe are the real pockets of injustice:

 

in our community

in our parish

in our church

in our Island

 

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.”

 

The widow worked hard on a real relationship with the judge. She, though powerless, knew he wielded power and that he could help her. But notice this:

 

She:

doesn’t belittle him

doesn’t argue with him

doesn’t talk about him behind his back

        doesn’t stamp her feet, or moan or shout at him from a safe distance.

 

She stands before him, in dignity and with persistence.

 

The judge had a relationship with the widow. At one level, he became weary of her because she would not let go. She would not keep silent and collude with injustice. She kept showing up. But at another level, and I think this is crucial, the Judge knew her, because she did

stand before him.

 

By keeping in relationship, with someone who wielded more power and influence than she could ever muster, and truly believing in the justness of her cause, she not only stood up for, but was able to receive justice.

 

She did not take the easy option and walk away. She did not take the side of injustice by her silence

 

So what does the Lord require of you?

 

But to do Justice

and to love kindness

and to walk humbly

with our God

 

Amen

 


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