Friday, November 13, 2009

Giving Out Of Our Poverty; Part 2

This week's scriptures are a partial carry-over from last week. They are 1 Kings 17:8-16 and Mark 12:41-13:2.

I wanted to mine these passages a bit more together because I was struck with the layers of meaning that they can hold for us.

We talked Sunday-and in last week's blog-about the radical contrast between the scribes who manipulated themselves into positions of power and prestige and the widow silently offering her, as Jesus described it, "out of her poverty."

Now Jesus re-emphasizes his point as He says to his disciples that the temple will soon be gone; the institution (the one He had just criticized for its corruption) would no longer be there. But the kind of commitment shown by the woman dropping her two small coins into the treasury: that would go on and on. The truth is that throughout the ages what has kept the Church (with a capitol C) going isn't the power's those who 'out of their poverty' have given of themselves...not just fact, that's probably the least of it...but to visit the sick, touch the leper, work for justice, do acts of mercy in places of distress. The history of the Church has, at its best, also been the history of the voiceless ones who see in Jesus one who understands and is present with them.

Which brings us to our passage from 1 Kings. She is starving. It is out of her poverty...the grinding hunger that she fears will kill both her and her son...that she shares with Elijah. We also need to remember that Elijah is also starving. He is out of food. The ravens no longer come to bring him meat. His request is one 'out of poverty' to 'out of poverty.'

As I prepare this week's sermon I am still asking myself, "what would happen if I offered the pieces of my life to God that are 'poverty'...the places where I am at my least?

Maybe God doesn't need/want my 'great abilities' as much as God wants my weakness. Maybe it is out of our poverty that we are best able to relate to the world around us and to be Christ's Body. Scripture constantly reminds us that Jesus became poverty for us. What does that have to teach us about what we need to become for God?

The questions are tough and challenging to me. They call me to struggle with the very places in my life I most want to avoid. Perhaps, however, it is here that I will meet the action of God that will feed me and keep me alive.

Let's talk about it Sunday.

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