A pandemic of poverty   Leave a comment

The challenge of my response to the plight of the poor seems to have been a message that God has been sending me in a number of different ways.

In the course of preparing a recent sermon on the heroic behaviour of Boaz (the sermon series is entitled “Heroes”) my attention was caught by the process of gleaning. I wanted to know more so I read further in Leviticus 19:9-10. Here we see how God established this practice to provide for the poorest and most needy people in society. It seems He did not make it “a suggestion” He made part of the Law. His expectation that His people would make care of the poor a priority is established right from the earliest days. However He seems to expect that we would not do well!

In “Surprised by Hope” N T Wright suggests the problem of global debt that triggers so much of our worlds poverty is potentially a crime of heinous proportions.

“Sex matters enormously but global justice matters far far more. Whatever it take we must change this situation or stand condemned by subsequent history alongside those who supported slavery two centuries ago or those who supported the Nazi’s seventy years ago… every time we put it off one more day, several hundred children die. And thats just the start”

Mark Labberton in “The Dangerous Act of Loving Your Neighbor” put it this way

“ Systematic injustice, the absence of the rule of law, and the suffering of so many innocents at the hands of oppressors rely on the complicity and distraction of our ordinary hearts

If indeed the Body of Christ is charged with working towards the New Earth that Jesus will redeem and restore how can we contemplate sitting by and watching while huge numbers of people wake up each morning to the challenge of finding a splash of clean water and any scrap of nourishment. They do this when in all probability that they will lie down at night having found neither.

“The world is to dangerous to live in- not because of the people who do evil but because of the people who sit and let it happen” Albert Einstein. I really don’t want to be one of those people but I fear that I often am. Just last week I was sent this trailer for a movie to be released in October produced by the live58 Project inspired by Isaiah 58….

58: THE FILM Trailer from LIVE58NOW on Vimeo

“a pandemic”, that we have the resources to eliminate and we don’t. How dare we rationalize this situation but what can we do? It seems our feeling of helplessness is one of the evil one’s most effective tools in disabling us. Groups such as producer of the above trailer and Micah Challenge are offering us some help in feeling less inadequate and the ministries of Steve Sjogren and Dino Rizzo encourages us with ideas as to action we can take on our own doorstep

So the question I posed to our church family at the end of the sermon is what is the 21st century equivalent of “gleaning”? If God felt it was important enough to make a provision in the Law for the poorest and most needy people in society how can we reflect this in our actions, and of course when are we going to step out?

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Posted July 19, 2011 by jolm15 in Uncategorized

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