This reflection was originally shared by The Rev. Canon Richard Lief at our Thursday night Communion in the Courtyard Service, where participants are invited to contribute unique prayers, reflections, music, and poems to our common worship. The liturgy is intentionally malleable and reflective of the distinct talents, passions, and each participant on any given week. For more information. Visit the Communion in the Courtyard webpage on our website.
June 3, 2021
Being a co-facilitator for a Sacred Ground group challenged and stretched me. Learning that I am the beneficiary of white privilege at the expense of black slavery, the genocide of indigenous peoples, legal bias and robbery of land from Latino and Chinese peoples, and a number of systemic racial laws and customs in our day, I have had to re-examine my way of life and perspective.
On another issue, I have also been challenged to respond more directly to the Climate Emergency, which threatens our ability to sustain all forms of life on our fragile island home. Even though I would much rather simply be a retired contemplative parish priest, I am called to be part of the cathedral support system, which seeks to promote social justice and the ministry of restoring Mother Earth so our children and grandchildren, and their children, and all people, will have a place to live out their lives in the fullness of their humanity.
In tonight’s gospel reading, we hear of the persistent widow who successfully pleads her case before the unjust judge. Jesus offers this parable that no one could fail to be captured by. His hearers knew only too well, that justice was the last thing that ordinary people could be sure of. The rich and the privileged could get verdicts in their favor by favoritism or a bribe: the poor and humble would get nothing.
The widow’s persistence before the judge wore him out. Annoyed by her impertinence, all he wanted was to get rid of her. Her determination won the day, in spite of all odds. Jesus says, will not God vindicate his elect, who cry to him day and night? And you and I are bold to pray: “Thy will be done.” – which reminds us that prayer is more about listening for the still small voice.
Jesus reminds us that as we pray, our faithfulness to God is deeply rooted in the duty to care for, orphans and strangers, the powerless and the homeless in our midst. Widows in that day had no power, nor means of support. The parable of the widow and the unjust judge may have had its origins in Jesus’ life. What was it like for his mother when Joseph was no longer alive to protect her?
God calls us to be with the widow and the orphan, as well as those who suffer from systemic racism, and the poverty stricken who suffer the worst effects of the climate emergency. Our compassionate God calls us to bring about his beloved community where every human being is treated with love and respect and dignity. You can get involved by consulting the links to Sacred Ground in Action and the Simple Living websites at stpaulcathedral.org
Be persistent in prayer. The prophet Micah reminds us,”… what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?:”