Sacrifice and Offering
Mark 12:41-44 tells us the story of when Jesus was ‘people watching’ in the temple and he noticed someone who everyone else missed.
He saw an unnamed woman, a widow, slip two small coins into the offering slot, then watched as she left quietly.
Jesus not only saw her, but he saw what she had left back at home – nothing.
By that simple act, she had said thanks to God for her life and thanks for her church. She had literally given everything she had to ensure it kept going. She put her personal future on the line with her sacrificial gift.
Jesus noticed her and most importantly her heart. Jesus commended her to his disciples and contrasted her to those more visible and who made more noise with their offerings.
Jesus, who himself at Christmas, slipped quietly down to earth as a baby (well maybe not so quietly). Jesus, who like the woman he saw that nobody else saw, gave all he had to live on. In fact, his last breath, to forgive, reconcile and save the world, including us, from ourselves.
I think there is much in that little moment that speaks to us right now.
To bishops and ‘hierarchy’ (I dislike that word), to women and men, to those favouring the ordination of women and to those who don’t, to those who feel connected and to those who feel marginalised in the LCA right now.
I am not going to tell you what you need to discover and hear in that gospel, but I hope you will discover both its comfort and its challenge to us about faith, sacrifice, love, trust, gratitude, church, discipleship and a whole lot more.
This also happened to be the gospel on Remembrance Day, when we pondered on the sacrifices, big and small, of men and women, known and unknown. Those killed in active service and civilian victims, for our peace.
Right now, God wants to start drawing our attention to what our noisy, busy, anxious and conflicted world easily overlooks – the baby in the manger. Who he is, what he came to be and do, and the sacrifice he would make.
Christmas will remind this bishop he is not here to save the church, but simply to serve the church as a sacrifice of thanks and love in ways seen and unseen.
God bless you as you take time to focus on the one who the world forgets, but who matters most in life and death, and whose sacrifice says how much you matter to him.
God bless all of us as we think about how to say thank you for that.
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