Pastor’s Corner – June 22, 2020
37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40 And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ ……Matthew 25: 37-40
Part of my Father’s Day weekend was participating in the Poor People’s Campaign, a continuation of the faith-based movement led by Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968. King called it a “revolution of values” bringing the interconnected issues that led to poverty and injustice to the national spotlight. The Poor People’s Campaign of 2020 is “national call for Moral Revival” in the United States focused on lifting up the voices and experiences of those experiencing poverty in the United States, and the policy decisions that continue to make issues of poor people a low priority. There are over 140 million poor and low-income people in the United States and the rich/poor gap of income inequality is growing. That’s why the Poor People’s Campaign seems so necessary to me. For more information about the Poor People’s Campaign, click HERE
Care for the poor was the value that united the early churches ministry as the Apostle Paul recorded in his Letter to the Galatians:
“James and Cephas and John, who were acknowledged pillars, recognized the grace that had been given to me, they gave to Barnabas and me the right hand of fellowship, agreeing that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. 10 They asked only one thing, that we remember the poor, which was actually what I was eager to do.” …… Galatians 2: 9-10
Care for the poor is also the societal issue that Jesus was most focused on and it is the most common topic in the Bible is poverty and care for the poor. https://sojo.net/list-some-more-2000verses-scripture-poverty-and-justice
It seems like a simple thing to say Christians care for the poor. We are good at caring for the poor through service, but not as focused on putting effort into actually changing their condition. Christians also get distracted from this call when they prioritize other moral issues, that are barely mentioned in the Bible or by Jesus, as fundamentalist Christians do. This gives the world around us a poor impression of what we are about and what God thinks is important.
Christian’s of all types are starting to see the light when it comes to recognizing care for the poor and working against the forces that create poverty— as central to Christian morality. I hope the Christians at First Lutheran can also be a part of this work and this moral revival!