FRIDAY: Since I am not preaching this Sunday, I am not working on a sermon on the Wedding at Cana. I preach on it at most weddings because I like the idea of the Spirit turning our watery relationships into fine wine.
This morning I was listening to NPR and heard their Story Corps for today. I was reminded of the story of the Persistent Widow in the Bible. In the NPR story the woman tells of her ordeal trying to register to vote. The registrars did not want to register a black woman. They tried all sorts of trick questions to keep her off the rolls. One time they asked her how many red jelly beans were in a large jar of jelly beans. It went on like that for a long time but she kept coming back. Finally they asked a question about the preamble to the Constitution to which she knew the answer. She had that memorized and passed. But the registrar told her as he handed her the voter's card,
"You're going to pass today. Because we are tired of looking at your black face," Burroughs recalls him saying.
Then he handed over the slip of paper that meant Burroughs was a registered voter.
This is the same story of the Persistent Widow who was seeking justice from the unjust judge in the Bible. She kept coming back. The Judge grants her justice not because he is a just judge but because she wears him out - actually the Greek says he worries about her giving him a black eye - a boxing term that is not just metaphorical.
Like water dripping on a stone (as the song says) the persistence erodes injustice. It is wearying work and often we are tempted to give up. The woman voter almost gave up but someone encouraged her to keep at it. She learned all she could about her oppressors to trip them up in their own ways. She used her anger for energy to keep going.
I don't usually comment on the church in this blog -but the recent events by the Panel of Reference sent by the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Diocese of Fort Worth have put me over the edge. Here is the story from Episcopal News Service. The Episcopal Church decided many years ago that women and men are called to the priesthood and can be ordained. Fort Worth and a couple of other dioceses have said they can't do it - something about our body parts make us unfit in their eyes. Nothing personal they say - just too bad. Along comes the Panel of Reference to tell us we have to make allowances for these misogynists. Can you tell I am angry about a bunch of mostly men, from places that don't ordain women, deciding what TEC should do? You betcha! Sorry we are not buying. We are staying and persisting until justice prevails. I take strength from previous and ongoing struggles for recognition of full humanity of all persons. The Persistent Widow and the Woman Voter are my heroes. A luta contuinua
For more on Fort Worth and one of the persistent ones Click Here