The Widow's Mite.

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Title:The Widow's Mite
Notes:JESUS MAFA is a response to the New Testament readings from the Lectionary by a Christian community in Cameroon, Africa. Each of the readings was selected and adapted to dramatic interpretation by the community members. Photographs of their interpretations were made, and these were then transcribed to paintings.

Jesus and his disciples stand in a back corner observing the transactions taking place at the temple treasury. A man in rich clothing throws a gold coin into the jar while a seemingly blind beggar sits a few feet away asking for help from passersby. The widow carries a large jug on her head, holding a small child as she drops small, dull coins into the same jar. Jesus’ comments have been widely misunderstood as mere praise for the widow, for poverty. Instead, his words are also a critique of the systemic economic injustices that require the widow (whom the religious establishment should be helping) to give all she has to support the rich community of religious leaders. The church would do well to remember that it is out of its abundance that it is called to help those who are needy—not exploit what little the needy have for its own personal gain.


Scripture:Luke 21:1-4
Mark 12:38-44
Lectionary links:BProp24
General Subject:Generosity
Culture: African
Culture: Black
Library of Congress Subject:Christian art and symbolism -- Cameroon

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Copyright Permission:For non-commercial uses, include with the image the Attribution statement below. Variations of the statement are fine as long as the elements in the Attribution statement are included. For other uses contact Éditions de l’Emmanuel,
Attribution:JESUS MAFA. The Widow's Mite, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved June 24, 2024]. Original source: (contact page:
Record Number:48392 Last Updated: 2022-05-05 11:52:33 Record Created: 2006-12-21 00:00:00
Institution:Vanderbilt University Collection: Art in the Christian Tradition