Difficult economic times – in which millions of people have less and make less, many more than normal are out of work, and many fall through the final grid of the private and public safety nets – should inspire people to help one another.
Such self-sacrifice and mutual concern sadly seem less evident in this recession than in earlier times of uncertainty.
It’s especially disturbing that many religious people, particularly Christians, seem to have divided themselves into warring politically partisan factions and forgotten the commonalities and moral imperatives scripture, history and sacred tradition demonstrate and expect.
All the way through the narratives of the Hebrew and Christian Bibles, the prophets, then Jesus, then the apostles and the disciples lay out the necessity of acting for the poor, the hungry, the sick, the orphaned, the homeless – all people taken down by the situations of life.
Isaiah, whose preaching is a cornerstone of the Hebrew scriptures, said of the poor in Isaiah 41: “When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the Lord will answer them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.”
Much of what Isaiah said also found fault with Israel for not being God’s active, responsive agents in the world. Jesus of Nazareth continued that theme in telling his followers to feed the hungry and not worry about the worthiness of those being fed.
Most agencies measuring poverty say about 13 percent of the people who live in the United States are poor – about 39 million people out of about 300 million total population.
Those people are everywhere, and they are in some way in need.
People working side by side for others in need find it difficult, if not impossible, to have face-to-face fights about secondary issues.
“… If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: Everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God,” Paul wrote to the Christian community in Corinth, a diverse city in the ancient world.
The stewardship of life requires that people of faith be faithful in living as persons made in God’s image.
That would be the God who never forsakes.
We are called to reflect that unforsaking love and compassion as best we can, not argue about tangential issues that make us judges of one another.
NEMS Daily Journal