17th Oct, 2010

The Twentieth Sunday After Trinity

by The Rev. Fr. Ian Elliott Davies

Lections
Jeremiah 31:26-34
II Timothy 3:14-45
St. Luke 18:1-8

Today’s Gospel, while continuing with the themes of faithful and trusting prayer that echoes all the way through the lections, contains just a hint of wry humour, perhaps redeeming humour that reminds all of us that commitment and persistence are the hallmarks of the followers of Christ.

Contemporary translations mask the humour of the parable. During his soliloquy the judge says, “Because this widow keeps bothering me, I shall deliver a just decision for her lest she finally come and strike me.” Most startling is the original Greek of “come and strike me.” It says in Greek (hyopiaz-o ) it is a metaphor from ancient boxing that means “strike below the eye.”

The woman fighting for a voice to be heard pummels a complacent and unjust judge just like a faltering boxer. Christ’s hearers are confronted with a new vision of reality inaugurated by God’s reign, where victims are given a voice and seek justice—often in a surprising and unsettling manner.

The followers of Christ in St Luke’s time were actually surviving difficult times, where persecution and continued abuse—because of their faith—were inescapable. People were growing weary and disempowered for not knowing the ways they could begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel, or for how to continue living out their faith as good, dedicated and committed disciples.
How many times do we ask, request, implore, dream of, or even wish for something so much that our entire attention and presence are bound up with the very process, the conversation, relationship and dialogue?

The journey of faith encompasses the breaths we take, and the challenging steps we face in each day.

It includes the sometimes difficult ways to resolution, of vindication from disgrace, from disempowerment and alienation to redemption toward who we are to be—to ourselves and to the world, to our destiny, and to the world given before us.

Soren Kierkegaard, the great Danish philosopher, says that “faith as trust is like floating on a deep ocean. Faith is like floating in seventy thousand fathoms of water. If you struggle, if you tense up and thrash about, you will eventually sink. But if you relax and trust, you will float.”

So, as we strive for faith, seeking justice, as we meditate, study and learn our statements of faith, and as we say our prayers, let us always feel the sacramental presence of Christ with us, and let us float trustingly on that deep ocean of God’s love. life…let us feel God’s presence like the melody that accompanies our living

Dyma gariad fel y moroedd,
Tosturiaethau fel y lli:
Twysog Bywyd pur yn marw—
Marw i brynu’n bywyd ni.
Pwy all beidio â chofio amdano?
Pwy all beidio â thraethu’I glod?
Dyma gariad nad â’n angof
Tra fo nefoedd wen yn bod.

Here is Love, vast as the ocean,
Loving-kindness as the flood,
When the Prince of Life, our Ransom,
Shed for us His precious blood.
Who His Love will not remember?
Who can cease to sing His praise?
He can never be forgotten,
Throughout Heaven’s eternal days.

On the mount of crucifixion,
Fountains opened deep and wide;
Through the floodgates of God’s mercy
Flowed a vast and gracious tide.
Grace and Love, like mighty rivers,
Poured incessant from above,
And Heaven’s peace and perfect justice
Kissed a guilty world in Love.

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