This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
“The Widow,” plate 4 from “War” (Krieg) series (1921-22, published 1923); woodcut by Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945; German); Museum of Modern Art, N.Y.

“The Story of Joseph” detail, “Joseph Interprets Pharaoh’s

Dreams” (1986); serigraph in 34 colors by John August Swanson (1938-), the son of a Mexican

mother and Swedish father who now lives in Los Angeles.

Parable of the widow

and the unjust judge Luke 18:1-8 When I was young I used to race sailboats. Te only

way to win was to keep my eye on the mark and get there first. Te wind, tide and other sailors worked hard to get me off course. Sometimes I won, sometimes I lost, but I always tried. Tere was great satisfaction in trying. Today I live in quiet desperation. I am unwell and

oſten in pain. My goals are different now. Winning is when I get the daily newspaper sudoku right or make good banana bread. My body is not much use, but believing that love

is even greater than life itself, I pray for my family, for those in pain, and for justice and healing in our broken world. When I am weak and feel like giving up, when the wind is just too strong, I remember a verse from the parable of the widow and the unjust judge, where Jesus tells of the need to “pray always and not to lose heart” (Luke 18:1). Tat widow in Luke’s parable had no status or power.

She must have been unimaginably desperate to not only confront a judge who notoriously cared little for other people, but to continually return until he gave up and heard her case. Today I return again and again to God, a just judge, with my petitions. Sometimes I see my prayers answered and sometimes not. Unlike the widow I’m lucky to have a wonderful hus-

band, children and friends who care, but my struggles are all mine. No one else can take on that burden— except God. Tere’s great satisfaction in praying.

Jane McKinley attends Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, Lakewood, N.J.

Joseph Genesis 40

In a society that judged one’s intrinsic worth on

social status, Joseph’s career went up and down like a yo-yo. He was the No. 1 son and then sold into slavery. He became his master’s right-hand man and then went to prison. He later found himself as Pharaoh’s right- hand man. Perhaps Joseph’s life informed Jesus’ teach- ing about each person’s unchanging, infinite worth: “Te last will be first” (Matthew 20:16) and “whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant” (Matthew 20:26). Troughout his life, Joseph maintained continuous

awareness of God’s presence and grace toward him, and so managed to excel at every task to which he put his hand. Above all, he let go of the many serious injustices he had suffered and lived as one without any grievances. Tus, for example, he had sufficient presence to reach out to other prisoners in need (Genesis 40:6-7). For 30 years I prospered working in various profes-

sional capacities before becoming homeless. I’m still homeless. But Joseph’s example encourages me that, through grace and presence, God can and will continue to use my giſts, regardless of my circumstances. I can still be light to the world.

William Tell lives in Baltimore and blogs at




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