Scripture: Psalm 146
Key verse: (9) The Lord watches over the strangers; he upholds the orphan and the widow, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
Reflection: The Bible has a special place for widows because the widow had no place in her society. It was a man’s world and if a woman lost her man, she lost her world. She had no right to her home or possessions and all she had worked tirelessly to produce including the house she turned into a home, would be given to her sons, or husband’s brothers. That was the law. If her sons or brothers-in-law were decent and fair- then she would be safe. If they were not, she was in trouble and she would need help. She would need a judge whose job was to stand in place for God, or at least God’s justice and compassion. The widow could petition the judge – go and meet him in the city square; he would hear her case and mete out justice. He could force her family to act with compassion and dignity. He could restore her honor and broker a new deal. She could be protected, just as the Bible commands (think of Jesus’ parable in Luke of the Unjust Judge).
It is interesting that in the midst of a male dominated society and in the middle of a book that often reflects that male dominated society, we find God’s heart breaking for widows. The ones who were the most vulnerable were foremost in God’s mind and in God’s heart and he was looking out for them. And add the poor to God’s prayers and watchfulness. And orphans. And the prisoners.
So, when we say God bless America, God says Amen, and gets to work doing what God said he would do (read his prayer list in this Psalm) and invites us to join along.
Prayer: (A Taize chant) Nothing can trouble, nothing can frighten. Those who seek God will never go wanting. Nothing can trouble, nothing can frighten, God alone saves us. Amen.
Author: Derek Macleod
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].