Sunday, November 11, 2012

Wedding Songs, Widows, and Sacrifices

This Sunday's Bible readings included two stories involving widows.

In 1 Kings 17:8-16 we heard about Elijah and the widow of Zarephath and the miracle of the jar of meal.
"The jar of meal was not emptied, neither did the jug of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by Elijah." 1 Kings 17:16
 And in Mark 12:38-44 we have Jesus at the Temple observing the sins of the scribes, and then the offering of the widow's mite.
As he taught, he said, ‘Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the market-places, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honour at banquets! They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.’

He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.’ 

And one of our Hymns today was #353. The 1982 Hymnal version in which the third verse varies from what I could find on-line.

Here is the verse in our Hymnal that we sang today,
"O God of love, inspire our life,
reveal your will in all we do;
join every husband, every wife
in mutual love and love for you."
As we were being chided for not sacrificing enough to the Episcopal church because of diagreements with the "national" church, I had to think about the tales of suffering widows and how this is all entwined with the Biblical narrative regarding marriage, a narrative our church has decided to sacrifice to the whims of the secular world. 

The plight of  the historcial widows we heard about today is foreign to modern Americans. With a large proportion of single parent families, there may be a greater perception of the problem of divorced moms and single mothers raising children than concern for the poor widows that we heard about today.

Things will be so much simpler when marriage, being something ordained by Christ as between one Christian man and one Christian woman, is eliminated.

Well, it might be a little complicated for the Hymnal editors since they will have to change the troublesome wording of that third verse to Hymn 353.

But just think, once polygamy and/or polyamory becomes acceptable, no one need ever be alone after the death of a spouse.

Widowhood itself will die!

Who wouldn't want that?

Certainly God doesn't expect us to sacrifice our happiness by obeying some ancient commandments about marriage made up by a bunch of oppressive old men?

The Episcopal church will never sacrifice its rejection of Biblical marriage, and for that,
"They will receive the greater condemnation."


  1. I am very found of episcopal hymnal. You have shared very nice hymnal song. Thanks for sharing about the stories.

  2. Nice post. keep it up :)