The value of a widow

“Jesus made what is perhaps the most striking statement of the value of a widow when he was dying. Most biblical scholars believe that by the time Jesus reached adulthood, his own mother was a widow. If ever there was a time when a man might be forgiven for failing to notice a widow’s sufferings and tears, surely it was when Jesus was being crucified. Yet right in the midst of being tortured, his heart goes out to her. In an act of exquisite compassion and esteem, the suffering Jesus transfers his responsibilities as her eldest son and protector to his beloved disciple John. To Mary he says, ‘Dear woman, here is your son,’ and to John, ‘Here is your mother.’ To which the apostle John adds this tender epilogue, ‘From that time on, this disciple took her into his home’ (John 19:26-27). Jesus’ words reveal God’s heart for women and their significance in his sight.”

Carolyn Custis James, in her book The Gospel of Ruth.

The likeness re-drawn

Athanasius in “On the Incarnation”, roughly 376 A.D.:

You know what happens when a portrait that has been painted on a panel becomes obliterated through external stains? The artist does not throw away the panel, but the subject of the portrait has to come and sit for it again, and then the likeness is re-drawn on the same material. Even so was it with the All-holy Son of God. He, the Image of the Father, came and dwelt in our midst, in order that He might renew mankind made after Himself, and seek out His lost sheep, even as He says in the Gospel: ‘I came to seek and to save that which was lost.’

Which calls to mind a verse of Charles Wesley’s great hymn, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” which I’ve heard rarely sung:

Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface,
Stamp Thine image in its place:
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.
Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the Life, the inner man:
O, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart.