In seminary I learned how to do a power analysis. We would like to think that in the world, all people’s lives matter – however this is not the reality we live in. Therefore, considering the real power structures in our cities, countries, and even churches helps us to focus our time and attention in ways that get the most done and bring the most good.
This week’s Hebrew Bible story focuses on a little family that is powerless, marginalized, even nameless. A widow and her son. In the scope of things – forgotten about lives, yet known and cared about deeply by God.
Something I LOVE about the scriptures, is that they contain stories of the people of God. Stories of folks just living lives. Sometimes there is a wedding or a feast. Sometimes there is great tragedy like a drought or death. Sometimes these situations are dealt with with grace and faith that God is good and God is with us. Other times, the stress breaks folks and we wander from the path God has laid out. Weather these are stories of factual people who lived, or stories doesn’t make a difference – they are stories that reveal to us truths about who God is for us.
We worship a God who cares about the people the world doesn’t.
We worship a God who sees and cries with the mothers whose children starve.
We worship a God who is active in the world and whose grace and power is accessible to us!
Yet, not every child of a faithful mother will live again.
We worship a God who is bigger than we know, and who does not promise there won’t be pain – just that God and the people of God will be with us through the pain.
There isn’t a bigger reason for every tragedy. God does not send droughts, storms, or disease. We as humans seeking reasons desperately wanting to understand at times attribute these things to God. Understandable. Yet when we are not in pain, we can look beyond our deep desire to know why, to blame someone, and to consider what that says about God.
We worship a God who is consistently in love with all people. This beautiful story of the widow and her son, not a part of the people of Israel – show us that our differences, our human labels and boundaries are not God’s separations – but our own.
Let us sit with this story this week and work through it. There is a lot there. May God bless the reading and study of this word for you and all who come to it.