Tag Archives: Enough for all

Nurture with Justice

Advent
December 5, 2017

Scripture Reading: Isaiah 40:1-11

See, the Lord God comes with might,
   and his arm rules for him;
his reward is with him,
   and his recompense before him.
He will feed his flock like a shepherd;
   he will gather the lambs in his arms,
and carry them in his bosom,
   and gently lead the mother sheep.
–Isaiah 40:10-11

Isaiah reminds us whose we are. Almighty God protects God’s children, nurtures, and feeds us. The Lord expects us to partner with God in assuring that all children know God’s love and care. Advent is a time when we remember the darkness of life as we await the coming of the Light of the World. My church has a long Advent tradition of collecting warm hats, mittens, gloves, and scarves for those left out in the cold. We pray that each gift does share with each recipient our love as well as a bit of relief from the elements.

The symbolism of the act may be just as important for those of us with enough resources to provide these small gifts. They remind us that in God’s world everyone is to have enough: shelter, clothing, food,  medical care, and love. We are responsible for doing the justice to make enough for all possible. Nigerian author Chinua Achebe states it best, While we do our good works let us not forget that the real solution lies in a world in which charity will have become unnecessary. His words may sound familiar as I have quoted them before and I will continue to quote him until a world that needs no charity exists.

This year we needed more scarves for the ones we targeted to serve. The store where I was shopping did not have enough and referred me to another of their stores in a part of town nearer the inner city. On my way into the store, I walked past one man talking to someone only he could see and another seated on the sidewalk with his back to the wall of the building one hand grasping his grocery cart full of all of his possessions. I experienced first hand the humanity in need of warm clothing, but more importantly in need of justice.

Prayer: Holy One, let us not forget that the real solution lies in a world in which charity will have become unnecessary. Let it be so.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.

Justice for All

WR-Enough-for-All-2007-BannerLiving in the Spirit
June 26, 2015

Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 8:7-15

I do not mean that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of a fair balance between your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance. As it is written,
‘The one who had much did not have too much,
   and the one who had little did not have too little.’ –2 Corinthians 2:13-15

Paul refers to the story of manna from heaven provided for the Israelites as they wondered in the wilderness after their exodus from Egypt. (Exodus 16:18) As you will recall in the story God provided enough food for the day but no more, except there was enough food to carry through the Sabbath so that all could observe it and rest.

I have read about bills being written, some passed, in various states throughout the nation, defining and controlling how people who receive public assistance can spend the cash they receive and requiring the passage of drug tests as an eligibility requirement. There is an assumption that no one receiving public assistance or food stamps is capable of handling their own money and that they all must be drug users, I guess. It seems to me we have to denigrate the poor to justify reducing expenditures for welfare. The irony is putting systems in place to police the use of these funds or do drug testing would cost more than the money saved. The data show that only a very small percentage of public assistance recipients ever test positive for drug use*. And I would challenge anyone to try to just survive for one month on food stamps and public assistance. I doubt most could make their utility bill payments.

All this chatter is a ruse to avoid the real issues. If everyone were paid a living wage, the number of food stamps recipients under the age of 65 could easily drop by at least half making a major dent in the cost of government. We do not want to struggle with the messiness of reworking the tax code to help small businesses pay a living wage and to make others pay their fair share of the cost of doing business. Food stamps, child care assistance, and Medicaid are primarily wage supplements for businesses.

Paul is not saying we are to encourage dependence. He is saying we need to foster independence through assuring justice for all.

Prayer: Lord forgive us for shaming the working poor in our country. Help us fine the way to assure that The one who had much did not have too much, and the one who had little did not have too little. Amen.

*http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2015/02/26/3624447/tanf-drug-testing-states/

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.