Luke 18:1-8 (NRSV)
Chapter 18Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. Verse 2He said, "In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. Verse 3In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, 'Grant me justice against my opponent.' Verse 4For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, 'Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, Verse 5yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.'" Verse 6And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. Verse 7And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? Verse 8I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?"
God's persistent command to love and care for people who are widows, orphans, and newcomers created a plan for a just society. When followed, God's plan provides a safety net of care for people who are vulnerable. In this parable, it appears society's safety net had failed the widow. She needed to rely solely on her own persistent efforts. She persisted and she succeeded.
Similarly today, women persist despite inequalities and injustice. Worldwide, women persistently and successfully care for their families, communities, and congregations. For example, more than fifty years ago persistent women were first ordained as Lutheran pastors in the United States.
God steadfastly hears persistent people's cries. God persistently cares when people are vulnerable, disregarded, and in need. However, God also persistently calls us to act. God commands us to be like this parable's widow and persist in our efforts to advocate for a society with justice, opportunities, dignity, and love for all people.
God of mercy, thank you for persistently hearing the cries of people society disregards. Strengthen us to be persistent and successful in our advocacy for a just society that cares for all. Amen.