Sunday, November 12, 2006

1 Kings 17:8-16 (Year B, Proper 27; 23 Pentecost)

Today's appointed lesson is 1 Kings 17:8-16, the story of Elijah and the Widow of Zarephath. (The painting here [click to enlarge] has a number of details based on study of the text and of the ancient realia behind it. For discussion, click here.)

Widow of Zarephath

The passage makes for a powerful homily or sermon. What better text to provoke the spiritual imagination and energy of people in pews. It wakes us up to God at work off our radar, outside of our hardened molds. Do we feel like God's cause is lost on earth and God's lifestyle nowhere to be seen? Here in 1 Kings 17, openness to God and a lifestyle of sharing is alive and well in an unanticipated place: outside of Israel, in a starving widow. (Cf. 1 Kings 19:14, 18.) God is at work around us in ways we might never think of. Just when the widow assumes she has fallen to her lowest point, she experiences the most wondrous events of her life.


Blogger Eliz F said...

So, the painting has "a number of details based on study of the text"...does that include a widow who looks so much like Gwyneth Paltrow? Somehow she just doesn't scream "dirt-poor widow desperately trying to eke out a living" to me. Quite beautiful painting, though. ;-)

Sun Nov 12, 08:07:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger S and C said...

You know, she does look like Paltrow! I've heard it said, and also read in student papers, that she may be in the process of falling from wealth. She has a big house to herself, including an upper story. ---S.

Mon Nov 13, 07:45:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Eliz F said...

Well, if your students said it, then it must be true...

Mon Nov 13, 10:48:00 AM GMT-5  

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