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Redistribution of Wealth

I have recently heard a lot of comments from fellow believers on the issue of redistribution of wealth, and I am disturbed. I should start out by saying that I do not agree with the idea that it is the government’s role to redistribute wealth. So, my concern and frustration at people’s reactions is not because I’m supportive of this as a government action, but rather because I hear in these responses a very American, but not a very Christian, attitude–an attitude that I think we in the US church have so adopted that we think it is a Christian attitude. My concern is with the heart and the tone of Christians as we discuss the issue of sharing the fruits of OUR labor with others. More »

Lessons from Leviticus (part 1 of some?)

I’d like to start sharing passages of Scripture for us to contemplate. The format will be a passage to read, followed, perhaps, by a few thoughts or questions. Here’s the first: More »

Theology of Suffering and Celebration

My husband and I just attended a thought-provoking, challenging and potentially life-changing conference this weekend focused on the changing demographics and “mission field” on our very own doorstep. We heard from Dr. Soong-Chan Rah, a professor at North Park Seminary and well-respected thinker in the world of Christian social action. Dr. Rah spoke of the theologies of suffering and celebration that mark different groups in Christendom. What I am sharing here are largely his thoughts gleaned from his study of other thinkers in this arena and their studies, but I write them because I am challenged by this and think that this idea should profoundly impact the Church. More »

Zimbabwe and the Anglicans

I can’t tell you how excited I was to read that the archbishops in the Worldwide Anglican Communion recently issued a statement requesting that President Mugabe of Zimbabwe step down from his role. They recognized that his leadership has been one of oppression, killing, secret kidnappings, threats and simply put, human rights violations. They also stated that his position as president at this time is illegitimate considering that he lost last year’s election. These archbishops have called upon the various leaders in the Anglican world as well as the laypersons in the church to speak out on this issue and to provide for the physical needs of the people of Zimbabwe.

Wednesday, February 25th, which is Ash Wednesday, has been designated by them as a day to stand in support of Zimbabweans who have long been oppressed and to pray for them.

Broken Fragments

I attend a church where we celebrate the Lord’s Supper or Eucharist on a weekly basis–actually, we celebrate it on Sunday and on Wednesday. Recently, we have been using a liturgy for the Eucharist that comes from the church in Kenya and includes this prayer:

O God of our ancestors, God of our people, before whose face the human generations pass away: We thank you that in you we are kept safe forever, and that the broken fragments of our history are gathered up in the redeeming act of your dear Son, remembered in this holy sacrament of bread and wine. Help us to walk daily in the Communion of Saints, declaring our faith in the forgiveness of sins and the resurrection of the body. Now send us out in the power of your Holy Spirit to live and work for your praise and glory. Amen.

What does this have to do with justice or poverty or mercy? Well, “the broken fragments of our history are gathered up in the redeeming act of [Jesus Christ].” Praise God that through His love and through His mercy, all of the injustice that we have committed, that our ancestors have committed, that our children and grandchildren will commit, is gathered up through Jesus Christ, the Just, for if they were not, I don’t think that this life would be worth living.

The end of this particular liturgy is a blessing, and it goes like this:

All our problems we send to the cross of Christ. All our difficulties we send to the cross of Christ. All the devil’s works we send to the cross of Christ. All our hopes we set on the risen Christ.

And so, today, as I am surrounded by a world filled with injustice, as I struggle against my own sinful inclination towards injustice and unmercifulness, I set my hopes on the risen Christ, for, as my dear husband gently reminded me yesterday, “Susan, one person cannot change the world by herself, but God can.” What a comfort. What a hope!

"Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, 'Here I am.' If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in." -Isaiah 58:6-12