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Spirit-Centered Moment: by Rev. Janet Blair

Written by the Rev. Janet Blair

Pastor of Thanksgiving Lutheran Church and Knox Presbyterian Church in Santa Rosa, CA

Let us pray!

Jesus tells a story about a widow who comes before an unjust judge asking for justice (Luke 18:1-8, Pentecost 19). This judge doesn’t respect God or humans, but because the widow keeps showing up, he gives her what she wants – perhaps monetary justice against someone trying to take what little she had. The Greek literally says that the judge grants the widow’s demands so that she doesn’t give him a black eye – in our translation so she doesn’t “wear him out.”

Jesus says, if this is how an unjust judge acts, won’t 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.” If even an unjust judge can be worn down by the pleas of someone as helpless and vulnerable as widows were at that time, won’t God listen to us?

Jesus’ message for us is: When you pray, keep at it! God is listening, and God will answer. Don’t think that just because God already knows what you need, you don’t have to ask. Luther said that God is like parents who wants to hear their children ask for what is on their minds and hearts.

What if our whole relationship with God was not based on passivity but on response and active love? What if we weren’t afraid to wrestle with God until the daybreak? What if we prayed with courage and persistence? What if we refused to give up and admit failure? And what if our prayers really were pleas to God to help right what is wrong in the world, and to grant justice to us all?

I think that is what God hopes for us and expects of us. At Thanksgiving Lutheran and Knox Presbyterian Churches, continuing to explore our faith and live out our ministry on this “journey of discernment,” we are called together to be grounded in prayer that guides and transforms us – prayer that is the foundation for justice, compassion, and change in our world.

The Bible doesn’t show us a God who doesn’t listen, but a God who can be influenced by us, whose mind can be changed. Isn’t it an amazing thing to think that we might change God’s mind?

So let’s persist! God is listening. We can be confident that our prayers are heard, and will be answered, even if the answer is sometimes a surprise. Let’s be attuned to what God is saying, listening, watching – and persistent, like the widow! Jesus tells us that God is all ears, and will not let us down.

Amen, let it be so!

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