Love and Poverty

I love that that year Ash Wednesday happens on Valentine’s Day! Instead of chocolate and flowers [or maybe dinner out], we eat a simple supper of soup and salad. Instead of lipstick kisses, we smear oily ashes on our foreheads to tell God we’re sorry. What an odd juxtaposition of culture and faith. And yet, as faithful people, we’re always stretched between how to live lives of faith in a wider world that claims to live in the ways of God, but falls terribly short.

I’m reminded by the recent renewal of The Poor People’s Campaign in Washington, D.C. According to the Washington Times, “On Monday morning [February 5th] religious leaders and volunteers for the Poor People’s Campaign delivered to elected leaders in 30 states and the District letters demanding action on poverty. In Washington, about 50 activists marched to the Capitol to deliver the letters to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, neither of whom received the letters. After being rebuffed by the congressional leaders, the activists prayed and protested in the Capitol Rotunda, chanting “Together forward, not one step back.” Capitol Police ushered the group out after two warnings of disturbing the peace. (Link)

Are we able to repent for the neglect of our neighbors who are living and dying in poverty in the richest nation ever in existence? How can we make sense of this catastrophe if we refuse to admit that poverty and economic inequality are built on white supremacy? How do we overcome the false narratives that blame the poor and perpetuate economic exploitation, exclusion, and deep inequality?

Our scripture texts tells us we are God’s beloved which makes us keepers of the covenant with all creation. May we face our fears, turn back the tides of sin against our neighbors, and carry God’s love in our hearts and on our lips as we’re moved to actions of resistance.

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