September 18, 2006

The Widow and Her Church - A Parable

There was a certain rich widow who was a member of a congregation for the whole of her life. She dearly loved her parish, and over the years she had endowed it with many gifts, most especially a window of fine stained glass, much admired by the people round about.

But there came a time when a new pastor came to the parish, who knew not the ways of those who had gone before, and who changed many things that had been customary in the service. And the widow was greatly displeased. And so she went to some of her friends of the congregation and beseeched them to confront the pastor, and demand that he no longer do such things as he had done, but rather restore the customs which had long been in place among them. But the pastor refused to do so, for he noted that the greater part of the congregation approved of the changes.

And so the widow and her friends demanded that the pastor recognize their claim, and cede to them their portion of the building, that they might worship separately in accordance with the customs they had known, with a pastor of their own choosing. And the widow further demanded that if this could not be done that she should take from the church the pew in which she had been accustomed to sit, together with the stained-glass window, several ranks of pipes from the organ, two or three of the cushions, and one of the chalices, and she and her friends would go their way in peace.

What, I say to you, shall be done for this widow and her friends?

—Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG


bls said...

Give them the pew, the window, the pipes, the cushions, and the chalice, of course. They won't be of any use by themselves, detached from the building.

Or else leave them everything and go back into the streets to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ. Perhaps they're doing us a favor.

Anonymous said...

Widow? More like Scrooge in drag. Ok, that was unkind. But more seriously, the widow has no claim. She endowed, or "gifted" the church with the stain glass window. There was no ,mention of any constraints on the gift given. It was given freely to her church. "Her church" in the sense that that is the church that she attends, not in the sense that she owns the church. It is Gods church, not her church.
There is room for charity here, but not extortion.

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

Do we recognise this?

There are still those that always sit in the same spot...

And as to windows - they have all but destroyed many a fine interior.