August 3, 2010

The Daily Lectionary and this coming Sunday’s text Luke 12:32-48, have a lot to sayFormer Refugees Resume Village Life in Darfur by United Nations Photoabout wealth and poverty – a lot.

MORNING PSALM 12

5“Because the poor are despoiled, because the needy groan,

I will now rise up,” says the LORD;

“I will place them in the safety for which they long.”

MORNING PSALM 146

5Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,

whose hope is in the LORD their God,

6who made heaven and earth,

the sea, and all that is in them;

who keeps faith forever;

7who executes justice for the oppressed;

who gives food to the hungry.

The LORD sets the prisoners free;

8the LORD opens the eyes of the blind.

The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down;

the LORD loves the righteous.

9The LORD watches over the strangers;

he upholds the orphan and the widow,

but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

Sunday’s text Luke 12:32-48

33Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

The agony starts: that was then, this is now, does that matter?  Who are the poor – local, national, or global, or all?  Does it include the addicts, the criminals, the indigent?  How did they get poor?  Can they ever be not-poor?  Will any amount of “assistance” change anything?  Do hand-outs create a culture of dependents?  Are these questions just a means of ducking for cover while my money remains in my pocket?

One thing seems clear to me at this moment: right now we understand at a far deeper level how wealth is created, how poverty is structural, and how intervention is vexed.  But what are we doing with this increased knowledge; just vouchsafing our own futures, or trying to find solutions to problems?

One other thing: God still loves poor people – a lot.   This issue doesn’t go away.

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