Friday of Pentecost 19 – Luke 18:1-8 

And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

I was in a hospital room not long ago with a parishioner. We were talking when the nurse came in. She checked his blood pressure, his respiration, his blood-oxygen saturation, and listened to his heart. She was recording his vital signs, the signs of life. Medical professionals do this all the time.

Did you know that faith also has at least one vital sign? It is prayer. For faith is the relationship which Jesus describes as like a father and child, a vine and branches, a shepherd and sheep, and more. Faith is not an idea or a virtue which we have. Faith is what we are in Christ. I am a child of God. I am a branch connected to the vine and from it I draw my life. I am a sheep in the care of this great good Shepherd Jesus. And just as I am alive and that means my heart beats and my lungs draw air, so too I am a child who comes his father and speaks, asks, and praises. A child who never speaks to his father has no father. A sheep which is never seen by nor sees the shepherd is not of that fold. A Christian who never prays is an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms.

Jesus encourages us to pray, and not lose heart. God is not like this corrupt judge, but He is a kind and good father who listens to his children. Even the corrupt judge can be badgered into doing something. God wants to do something for you. God will give the justice speedily. So, pray. Jesus wonders what the vital signs will be upon his return.

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