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Keep Bothering Me

Keep Bothering Me

Friday, November 21, 2014 – Proper 28, Year Two

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:

Psalms 102 (morning) // 107:1-32 (evening)

Malachi 3:1-12

James 5:7-12

Luke 18:1-8

It’s tempting to lower our expectations for justice when various powers seem stacked against us. But today’s gospel reminds us that we don’t have to wait for justice. We just have to keep bothering people.

Jesus tells a story about a widow pleading her case and “a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people.” The judge doesn’t appear to have a moral compass, a vision of God’s kingdom, or a sense of human worthiness and dignity.

He does, however, have a quality that seekers of justice can use to their advantage: limited patience. The judge eventually decides in the widow’s favor, saying, “because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out.” Perhaps some of us are called to this ministry of bothering others in pursuit of justice!

The good news is that we don’t have to wait for the institutions and systems of this world to be personally converted to love of God and love of neighbor. We just have to pester them incessantly.

The even better news is that God is much more responsive to calls for justice than the unjust judge. As Jesus goes on to say, “will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

What sort of faith will the Son of Man be looking for? From this passage, it seems that faith means seeking and fully expecting justice, even in the face of hostile or indifferent powers. Even they can be worn out by a faith that just won’t wait and just won’t quit.

And having faith means continuing to bother the Lord himself for the justice he longs to deliver for us. Today can bring us one day closer to God’s desires for all people and to the day when the judges of this world wear out.

Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as curate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and as director of the Ark Fellows, an Episcopal Service Corps program sponsored by St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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