Tomorrow morning, the Lutheran women gathered here at the United Nations 56th Commission on the Status of Women will lead the ecumenical community in worship. One of the texts is the story of the widow of Zarephath (1 Kings 17: 7-16). Pastor Ada Maina Jeannette from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Cameroon offers us this reflection on the story:

Oh Lord! One more test? Don’t you see, I am a widow with a child in charge? Don’t you see that I am a poor woman, left alone without support? Don’t you see that all I have to eat for food is just this small bit of flour and oil, which is not sufficient for me and my child. I am thinking, “if we finish and eat this, what will we do after?” But you, my God, have seen the situation of your servant. You send me your servant, Elijah, that I might be fed.

Yes, you have made woman the mother of life. This is a great responsibility. Even if she doesn’t have the possibility to nourish herself, she must do a miracle to feed those who come to or depend on her. It is always a test to give, but giving when you have nothing is greater still. A number of women want to give, but they didn’t have the means to do it.

For those who are widowed or poor like me, give us the strength to be the protectors of life—to be the one who brings joy to the hearts without joy; to bring laughter on the lips that cannot smile; the peace where there is injustice and other sorrows. You are a just God who loves all your children—you will do it.

Indeed, women all over the world are providing for their families out of the little or nothing they have. What is our call? How will we answer? More to come on some of the solutions after the Monday side event we are hosting, “From potential impoverishment to Seeds of Sustainability.” Even the rocks are crying out—but are we listening?