Dear Family and Friends
I have recently had the privilege of reading the book 'Women of the Bible' by Ann Spangler and Jean Syswerda and was encouraged by the important role so many of the lesser known, and even nameless, people who interacted with Jesus had in terms of his ministry. It may also be that Jesus was a master teacher who was able to use every opportunity as a powerful teaching moment! In reflection, I would like to paraphrase from this text a ‘case-in-point’ interaction between Jesus and the nameless ‘widow and the two copper coins’ relayed in Mark 12:41-44 and Luke 21:1-4.
With Passover approaching, the temple was packed with worshippers from all over Israel. The previous Sunday, Jesus had created a sensation as he rode down the Mount of Olives and into Jerusalem, mounted on a donkey. A large crowd had gathered, carpeting the road with palm branches and shouting: "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest."
Some of the Pharisees, scandalized that Jesus was being hailed as Messiah, demanded, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!"
"I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out."
Stung by his words, the teachers of the law began to plot how they could break the law by murdering him at their first opportunity.
Days later, after warning his disciples to watch out for the teachers of the law who preyed on widows for their money, Jesus sat opposite the temple treasury, in the Court of the Women. The place was crowded with people dropping their offerings in one of the thirteen trumpet-shaped receptacles that hung on the walls. But Jesus had eyes for only one of them. He watched as a widow deposited two small copper coins, less than a day's wages.
Quickly, he called to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on."
No one else would have noticed the woman. But Jesus, with eyes that penetrated both her circumstances and her heart, recognized the astonishing nature of her gift. Her gesture was a sign of complete abandonment to God.
Without faith, she would not have offered her last penny, believing God would care for her better than she could care for herself. But there is yet another, more subtle aspect to Her Story. How easy it would have been for her to conclude that her gift was simply too meagre to offer. What need had God for two copper coins anyway? Surely they meant more to her than they would to him. Somehow she must have had the faithfulness to believe in the value of her small offering.
The story of the widow and her two copper coins reminds us that God's kingdom works on entirely different principles than the kingdom of this world. In the divine economy, the size of the gift is of no consequence; what matters is the size of the giver's heart. As we approach Christmas and the obligatory gift-giving season may we be inspired by this account:
I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you and farewell to a number of staff leaving at the end of 2018, and a warm welcome to some new staff starting in 2019.
Farewell to: Debbie Beaty; Sue Chapman; Lothar Dunaiski; Andrew Edmondson; Francoise Finlayson; Cathie Meaney; Jill Miller; Neil Page; Janine Richards; Lorraine Tong; Penny Window.
Welcome to: Jonathan Carpenter (Head of Middle School); Kathryn Clark (Student Wellbeing Coordinator); Philippa Cooper (Junior School Teacher); Morgan Hutchings (PE Teacher); Andre Van der Merwe (MS Maths Teacher); Michael Worley (MS/SS Maths/Science Teacher); Stephen Wright (Old Scholar - IT Assistant for 4 weeks at beginning of 2019).
I pray a safe and spirit filled Christmas for you and your family, and look forward to seeing you all in the New Year.