We were looking at Luke 18v1-18 yesterday and the story of the persistent widow which Jesus teaches his disciples to show that they must never give up praying. As we were taken through it it struck me that Jesus is actual providing a critique of Jewish culture as well as teaching his disciples on prayer.
The judge does not care about godliness but neither do the people, God's law is trampled underfoot in their lack of concern and care for the widow and the fatherless. Its helpful that this story comes amid the growing conflict between the Pharisees and Jesus and the increasing way he teaches his disciples to follow him in contrast to the Pharisees.
The Pharisees know the law but find ways to wriggle out of it. So there were poor widows in Israel as Jesus walked Galilee and Samaria and even Jerusalem. For all their love of the law they were not loving according to the law.
Yet we have to be so careful in our critique of the Pharisees because we are more like them than we realise. How much concern do we have for the marginalised and cut off? How much of the underclass that there is in Britain do we see and serve? How much of the people trafficking and sex slaves which are present in our big cities are we aware of? How much do we cry out for them?
No we are not a Christian country, we are not the new Israel. But we as God's people are called to care for and love the marginalised and the cut off just as God tells us he does. We often think about imitating God by becoming more holy, but how often do we strive to imitate God by being more tender hearted to the marginalised and mistreated?