By the Charcoal Fire...

By the Charcoal Fire...

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Can we say we tried?

I’m sure you’ve all heard Adele’s new song “Hello” by this stage.
As I listened to it this week, the second verse caught my ear. I began to see it as a sort of anthem of the widows in our readings today. The verse goes:

Hello, can you hear me?
I'm in California dreaming about who we used to be
When we were younger and free
I've forgotten how it felt before the world fell at our feet

For both our widows, the world had truly fallen at their feet.
The dream had become a nightmare.

In those days, there was no social welfare, no state support for those who were widowed. If you were a widow, then it meant that the chief breadwinner in the family – your husband – was dead. No husband meant a grim future. No son to support you meant no future.

So why did they do what they did?
·        Why did the widow in the first reading give of the little she had to help Elijah?
·        Why did the widow in the Gospel give all that she had to the treasury and leave herself with nothing?

These two seemingly insignificant women were stripped of everything the world holds up as good for us - wealth, power, pleasure and honour – and left with nothing.
And yet here we are some 2,000 years later and these two nameless widows
and what they did is still being talked about.

Why? Because our God isn’t interested in wealth, power, pleasure or honour.
Just look at the Cross.

That bloodied, broken God of ours on the Cross isn’t exactly a shining example of wealth, honour, pleasure or power…

And yet, like the widows, Jesus gave up everything he had and let himself be nailed to a cross.
Because he understood, like the widows, that we are called to measure our giving
·        not by how much we have
·        but by how much the other needs
to measure our giving not by how much we have; but by how much the other needs

That’s why God allowed himself to be nailed to a cross –
he knew that we needed him to do that.
God didn’t need the Cross - we did.

It’s why the widows did what they did.
For them it wasn’t about the little they had. It was about how much the other needed.

And as for them my friends, so for us.
Thankfully, most of us know where our next meal is coming from, and the meal after that.
And thankfully most of us will put more than a couple of coins in the collection today and still have something left over.

Most of us have at least some degree of wealth, pleasure, power and honour in our lives.
Most of us. But not all of us.

That’s the challenge before us today.

Can we give because someone needs us to give?

Ø If there is someone who needs material help, we are wealthy enough to help.
Ø If there is someone who has no one to stand up for them, we are powerful enough to help.
Ø If there is someone who is being treated badly, we are honourable enough to help.
Ø If there is someone who finds life painful, we can help bring pleasure to their lives.

The widows gave because someone needed them to give.
Jesus gave because we needed him to give.
We give because someone needs us to give.

Adele sings in her new song:
“There's such a difference between us
And a million miles.
Hello from the outside
At least I can say that I've tried.”

Can we stand before God, stripped of 
our power, 
our pleasure, 
our honour
and our wealth,
and say we tried?

(Adele image taken from';
 Yoda image taken from

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