Weekly sermon thoughts for everyday discipleship based on two RCL lectionary readings
Sermon thoughts for everyday discipleship
by John Watson
Sunday 20th October 2013
2 Timothy 3:14-4:5 and Luke 18:1-8
When looking at parables the figures in the story are important to consider. Jesus often used characters that surprise and jolt us into a new perspective of seeing. This parable is a great example of this in which Jesus uses a figure of now power as an example of faith and persistence. If this person can do it - don’t you think you can?
Walter Wink in Sojourners magazine (Oct 1990) wrote about prayer saying that “History belongs to the intercessors, who believe the future into being.” In this parable the hero is a woman who refuses to take “no” for an answer. She believes the future can be different. She had no power or money and could not hold the judge to account for anything that might sway him - other than the persistent petitioning she makes. She reflects the many movements for justice in the past who refused to give up their quest despite violence and imprisonment against them. And it is no ordinary women but a widow (who for Luke is a special focus for God’s concern and particular attention of Jesus as they are often overlooked or abused Lk 20:47).
This widow is held up as example of a powerful woman of faith. A lesson for all the men hearing it. If this women can be persistent enough to get justice from a corrupt and immoral judge - just think how much more God will hear your prayers. Intercession is not trying to twist God’s arm, but living and walking the prayer we pray. When we pray for justice and truth we are to believe it and live it. It is to capture our hearts and imaginations.
Sam Cooke in 1963 released his song “A Change is Gonna Come” that proved inspirational for the Civil Rights Movement with the lyrics:
“It's been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will”
Praying for God’s Kingdom to come sometimes seems like an impossible task faced with the onslaught of forces and views that are seem to be so against the values of God's vision for the world. Yet we are never to stop believing and working and living and praying for that to come.
Timothy’s letter reminds us that God’s word is able to inspire, direct and correct our lives so that the vision of a world filled with God’s life and love can become a reality. Let God's word guide and feeds you. Let it be the voice that shapes you amongst the polyphony of voices in our society. Let God's word read you as well as you read it - so that our desires may be shaped by it. Always give out that message of the kingdom, no matter what season of the century it is. And we must do that gently and with patience. Being generous and committed. Never giving up the call to proclaim Christ.
John is the Vicar of St Paul’s, Tupsley and St Andrews, Hampton Bishop in Hereford Diocese. He’s also currently doing Doctoral Studies at Kings College London.