The grief of widows.
The 3rd Sunday after Pentecost
The household and the affairs of a poor widow need pretty much to be dragged into the history books. Poor widows rarely figure amongst the "great and the good" - that collection of soldiers, legislators, kings, presidents, scholars and business moguls - who historians prefer to write about. Poor widows tend to anonymity. They and their poorly-fed children pass from the scene largely unnoticed.
Not, though, in the two stories we will read this Sunday: In these two stories God's grace pays a visit to the economic and political hinterland. Health and restoration take place in humble surroundings. We are reminded - we small and finite people - that our unremarkable lives are the sort of "earthen vessels" well suited to contain God's Spirit and that where we live is an appropriate stopping place for Jesus.
The faithful across the centuries have laid before God their lives and the lives of their children - their jobs, their moods and their marriages not only because God in his omnipresence and omniscience "has his eye on the sparrow" (and therefore us as well) but because God took human life, human flesh, human speech and human community as the appropriate vehicle for the salvation of the world. Our lives matter - the human flesh which aches and the hopes which are dashed are all part of that physical and affective world which God in the Incarnation "inhabits". The small is infinitely larger than we might admit and there is no place or human person so small and mean as to be forgotten or overlooked.
We may, as well, emulate such grace in our relations with each other - in our care of the quiet and the poor and the suffering in our own communities - and be channels of that same careful and comprehensive love.