Scripture calls us to reimagine a world where our social and economic systems are not built to disparage or impoverish, but instead to provide for and benefit all. Next week we revisit the story of the widow’s mite, a scripture that begs for reimagination and reinterpretation from the harmful ways it has been used. I know, for myself, I always heard this story as lauding the widow’s generosity. What if we reimagine the story, without those interpretations we heard as children? Instead of commending the widow’s giving practices, perhaps Jesus is condemning the economic system that created her poverty. Today, as we become more aware of the injustices of our economic system, especially for people of color, we can see the widow’s mite with new eyes. Together, we can work for justice.
The Jewish practice of the Jubilee year invites us to imagine leaving the edge of the harvest for the poor and immigrant to reap. This is known as gleaning, and we use that word to describe our practice of collecting food for our feeding program: Food that would otherwise have gone to waste is “gleaned” to feed the hungry. In the fiftieth year, the harvest is shared, and disparities are rebalanced. The concept of Jubilee is an inspiration to feed the hungry, cloth the naked, house the homeless, and care for prisoners. (Matt 25:40)
In light of these stories in scripture, we are called to reimagine our own money stories. The widow’s mite could be a call to give from what we have. It could also be a call to work to end systems of injustice that create poor widows who can only give from their poverty.
This is the work of a congregation. Our church, like our society, has participated in systems that benefited from the suffering or injustices imposed on others, and it is only together, in community and relationship, that we can put an end to these things.
I invite us to reimagine our money story, our shared story, to become a story of justice for the marginalized. Together, let’s live for that vision of a world where on earth as in heaven, all are welcome, all are fed, and all are loved.