Friday, August 19, 2011


Friday, August 19, 2011 -- Week of Proper 15, Year One

Today's Readings for the Daily Office
(Book of Common Prayer, p. 980)
Psalms 140, 142 (morning)      141, 143:1-11(12) (evening)
2 Samuel 19:24-43
Acts 24:24 - 25:12
Mark 12:35-44

When I read the story of the generous widow, I always think of Margaret.  She was an elderly woman who had lived alone for many years.  Her husband had died at a relatively young age.  He was a butcher at the neighborhood supermarket.  Margaret had been a homemaker all of her life, like so many from her generation.  She raised their children, and every day she prepared their meals.  Her husband came home each day for a sit-down lunch with her.  The family ate dinner together every night.

Now her children were far away and mostly out of touch.  She had lived alone on a fixed income for more than twenty years.  Her income was the survivor's share of her husband's Social Security.  He had been a life-long employee of a non-unionized supermarket with no pension plan.  To say she lived modestly would be an understatement. 

The first check she made each month was her tithe to the church.  She faithfully contributed ten percent of her total gross income.  In our church, she was above the mid-range of pledgers.  She gave more than most, even though she had less than nearly anyone.  No one would have known though.  She was quiet.  Present.  Faithful.

She said she took the prayer list with her each Sunday and prayed every day for those who were listed.  She read the Daily Office.  She always brought a potato dish to our pot lucks. 

If you watched her carefully, you would see a person at peace.  She had an intimate, intuitive relationship with God, expressed so humbly that she rarely hit the radar screen.

There was a coherence around her.  She didn't make or create waves.  She simply walked with God and served quietly and modestly.  She lived with a deep and abiding acceptance of things -- her state in life, her neighbors and friends, herself.  The word "abide" comes to mind.  She was a person who could "abide."  She never seemed hurried, stressed or anxious.  She was pleasant, respectful, and quietly happy.  She is an saintly example for me. 

I think of Margaret from time to time when I get too stressed or complicated or self-absorbed.  When I feel anxious or worried.  Though she had very little, she had everything.  She knew and trusted God, and she accepted and loved life as it is. 

I moved away from that community many years ago, but everywhere I go I keep my eyes open for other Margarets.  They are out there.  They are everywhere, in every congregation and community.  They help ground us all.  They spread peace and coherence.  They know who and whose they are.  Blessed are the meek.  



Audio podcast:  Listen to an audio podcast of the most recent Morning Reflections from today and the past week.  Click the following link:
Morning Reflection Podcasts

About Morning Reflections
"Morning Reflections" is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.

Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117
An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at -- Click for online Daily Office
Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site at this location -- --  Click for Divine Hours

Discussion Blog:  To comment on today's reflection or readings, go to, or click here for Lowell's blog find today's reading, click "comment" at the bottom of the reading, and post your thoughts.

The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church
is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

See our Web site at

Our Rule of Life: 
We aspire to...
    worship weekly
    pray daily
    learn constantly
    serve joyfully 
    live generously.

Lowell Grisham, Rector
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, Arkansas


At 9:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obama should meet Margaret. She defies his whole existance. Obama exists to point out inequity (even though he has done nothing to end it). He would see a Margaret and not believe his eyes. Margaret follows the commandment that says "do not covet". Obama hasn't even heard that commandment. Margaret happily does her Christian duty, Obama whines and complains about what he inherited. Margaret lives within her means, Obama spends the money of our great grandkids just to prop up a failing economy. What a dichotomy we have with those two.

At 12:24 PM, Blogger Lowell said...

Please note dear Anonymous, that Margaret's income was almost 100% from a government program -- Social Security. She stretched her dollars with Food Stamps. When she saw the doctor, Medicare was her insurance. What would she have done without those programs that are under such attack today?

At 11:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Under attack today? HAHA. Lowell, our beloved polititians have been raiding SS for decades. EVERY polititian I have heard says SS, medicare and medicaid are going to go under. And which party wants to try and preserve them? The party of NO. The republicans say NO to letting them go, the Dems are fine with doing nothing?

Margaret also lives the 10 commandments, but you can't defend Obama's desire to stoke our covetousness.


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