Sharing Our Faith Together

The Methodist Way of Life - Commitment 9:  We will challenge injustice

by Rev Jacky Quarmby 1 July 2022

Reading:  Proverbs 4: 21 – 31

In the Bible, the needy, the vulnerable, the exploited people are given a special name.  They are called "the poor".   And it is very clear when we read the Scriptures, that these people are not alone.  They have a very powerful ally and friend.  One who says very clearly, "If you pick on them, you'll answer to me."  In our reading it says …

Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honours God. (Proverbs 14:31)

To despise the poor is to sin but blessed are those who are kind to the needy. (Proverbs 14:21)

God identifies himself with the weak and the vulnerable - the poor.  So much so, that if we cheat or exploit the poor, then we are dishonouring God and if we despise the poor, we are sinning against God.  On the other hand, if we are kind to the poor, it is as if we are caring for God Himself and God will bless us for our kindness.  

God has a preferential concern for the poor and He challenges us to share in that concern - firstly, by taking action to relieve their suffering. John writes in his first letter, (3:17)

If anyone of you has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in you?  Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth.

At a time when many people are struggling to pay their bills and feed their families, it is good to consider whether there is anything we can do to help those in need – perhaps by taking food to a foodbank or supporting the refugees at Susanna Wesley House or making a commitment to give regularly to a homelessness charity.  

The second thing that we can do is to challenge those systems and structures that perpetuate injustice – those systems that keep people poor.  For example, we can challenge unfair trading practices by supporting fair trade.  We can sign petitions calling for large pharmaceutical companies to make vital medicines more affordable.  We can write to our MP when we feel that domestic policies are unfairly impacting the poorest in our society.  Or we can support organisations like CARE, which works with the victims of human trafficking.  There are many ways we can help to challenge injustice in our society and beyond.

The poor have a powerful friend.  God stands with them in their suffering and challenges us to do the same.  

Song:  We Will Go (Watoto Children’s Choir)

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God of justice,
You asked for my hands, that you might use them for your purpose
I gave them for a moment then withdrew them 
For the work was hard.

You asked for my mouth 
To speak out against injustice
I gave you a whisper that I might not be accused.

You asked for my eyes
To see the pain of poverty
I closed them for I did not want to see.

You asked for my life
That you might work through me
I gave a small part that I might not get too involved.

Loving God,
Forgive my calculated efforts to serve you
Only when it is convenient to do so
And only in those places where it is safe to do so.

Forgive me, and fill me with your Holy Spirit
That I might have the wisdom
To know what is right
And the courage to do it.  Amen