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Friday, November 09, 2018

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After Jesus condemns the scribes for trampling on the widows while scrambling to gain respect and make an impressive appearance, as if planned by God, a widow makes her way up to the treasury and puts in all of her money. We can miss this connection in our reading if we separate Mark 12:38-40 from 12:41-44. But making the link is important, because it changes how we understand Jesus' reaction to the widow. Without the aforementioned verses about the scribes, it can sound like Jesus is proud that the widow is giving everything she has. However, making the link lifts up consideration of what the scribes have done to her; it reminds us that they have not been taking care of her as the scriptures demand. Then we may also note a Jesus whose anger may stem from the fact that she has been left with only two coins to live on. Making this interpretative connection also invites each of us readers today to consider for whom we are called to care, and how.

God, help us to see the invisible. Guide our eyes and hearts to see all of your children with the same eyes with which you see them, and with the same love with which you love them. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Emily Martin, '17
Associate Pastor, Cambridge Lutheran Church, Cambridge, Minn.

Mark 12:38-44 (NRSV)

38 As he taught, he said, "Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces,
39 and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets!
40 They devour widows' houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation."
41 He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums.
42 A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny.
43 Then he called his disciples and said to them, "Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury.
44 For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on."

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.