Do you know what the antidote for fear is?” the minister asked. The answer jumped into my head immediately. “Perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:17, NASB). But since it’s generally frowned upon for a member of the choir in an Episcopal cathedral to shout out answers to rhetorical questions from the pulpit, I kept quiet.
The story of the widow of Zarephath and Elijah is bracketed by two other stories that are excluded from the lectionary and are therefore never heard by many people in our congregations. Both of them concern the deviant monarchy under which the widow and her child live.
Some years ago I visited a Roman Catholic parish in one of the poorest areas of Mexico City. Mass was being held outdoors, and I arrived as people were setting up plastic chairs and wooden benches in a circle around the brightly dressed altar. The Virgin of Guadalupe smiled her approval from a mural on the side of the church as a few stray dogs settled down to nap in the warm dust.
Matt Yeater was blinded in a meth lab explosion at age 20. Imprisoned numerous times, he was not the typical seminary student when he matriculated at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana. After learning that there are few resources in Braille for studying biblical languages, he contacted a company that produces software for Braille translation. The result: now, with the touch of a button, biblical Hebrew, Greek, ancient Syriac, Latin, and Coptic can be translated into Braille (The Mennonite, July 12).