Reflection for the month
In the Bible, there are many references to poor widows, and they often stand as representatives of the 'anawim' (meaning 'those who are bowed down' in Hebrew); those who are vulnerable, marginalised, without means, without status or earthly power.
They are the ones who are totally dependent on God and who are often depicted as having the greatest faith. In the revised common lectionary readings for November there are several vivid stories of poor widows.
We meet Naomi and Ruth, economic refugees in a time of famine, supplicants to their rich relation. We meet the poor widow who shared the very last of her food with the prophet Elijah. And we meet the widow who puts her small coins, the whole of her substance, into the temple offering, while the wealthy give from their riches.
But the plight of poor widows does not just belong to biblical times. Today, more than 250 million widows live in poverty worldwide. Many fall victim to abuses such as rape, prostitution and eviction. Others are abandoned to a life of social isolation because of their lowly status within society.
This plight is often invisible, with so many of us unaware of the injustices taking place.
- ‘The plight of widows does not just belong to biblical times.’
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The LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are weighed down. The LORD loves the godly. Psalm 148:8