Widow of Zarephath (1 Kings 17:1-16)
One of the better known stories from Elijah: hungry prophet eats the last of the widows bread but then the magic happens and the last of the oil and flour are replenished, enough at least for another day's bread. And then the next. And then the next.
But the magic isn't about jars being replenished. It is better magic than that. We've got a prophet who measures the state of the nation and the faith of the people against how that nation responds to a list of folk. Depending on how well you look after this list of folk, the closer you are to God's Intent. The list is quite short: Strangers, Orphans, Widows. How you look after these people illustrates who you are.
The other bit of magic is about how generosity connects us, in giving of what we have, we relate to people through need, through faith, through sacrifice. And that is a significantly deeper relationship that the ones we can afford.
Okay, neither sound particularly magical, but they are. Think what this story does to us especially as we share communion on Sunday. Who do we invite not just to table but to our community? Stranger, orphan, widow? How we respond and welcome these determines what kind of church and community we are. And the generosity determines the depth of that relationship: giving of self.
These two bits of magic are the defining acts of God's communion with us and our communion with our neighbour. The bible has made a story out of this with the Widow of Zarephath, but it's the community that results when we all live like this that in the real magic.