Thursday, March 02, 2006

"Go in Peace; Remember the Poor"

Those were our pastor's parting words when our Ash Wednesday service ended last night.

If you're an American citizen who would like to do that -- remember the poor -- consider this: Our federal government has not renewed the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) for the next fiscal year. This program helps needy seniors, as well as low-income moms with young kids, obtain nutritious food. You can read more about the CSFP at the America's Second Harvest website.

I have firsthand knowledge of how access to commodity foods helps older adults with limited incomes maintain a decent quality of life. Money that poor people don't have to spend on food is money they can use for their utilities and gasoline and doctors' visits and prescriptions.

Please contact your elected officials. Remind them that budgets are moral documents. Suggest to them that if they want to be known as "values" legislators, they might want to promote the value of caring for "the least of these" in society. If they're the kind of politicians who wear their religiosity on their sleeve, at least during campaign time, you might want to direct them to the Book of Isaiah, the 58th chapter: after day they seek me
and delight to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that practiced righteousness
and did not forsake the ordinances of God;
they ask of me righteous judgments,
they delight to draw near to God.
"Why do we fast, but you do not see?
Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice?"
Look, you serve your own interest on your fast day,
and oppress all your workers.
Look, you fast only to quarrel and to fight
and to strike with a wicked fist.
Such fasting as you do today
will not make your voice heard on high.
Is such the fast that I choose,
a day to humble oneself?
Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush,
and to lie in sackcloth and ashes?
Will you call this a fast,
a day acceptable to the Lord?

Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of injustice,
to undo the thongs 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 them,
and not to hide yourself from your own kin?
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up quickly;
your vindicator 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 for help, and he will say, Here I am.

If you remove the yoke from among you,
the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil,
if you offer your food to the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,
then your light shall rise in the darkness,
and your gloom be like the noonday.
The Lord will guide you continually,
and satisfy your needs in parched places,
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters never fail.

(If your elected officials are the ones who have been militating to display the Ten Commandments on governmental property, then I'm sure they'd be delighted to have you quote more of the Word of God to them.)

Oh -- and please feel free to share this information.


Questing Parson said...

One time in my ministry I looked out from the pulpit to see one of my lay people sitting in a pew beside a homeles fellow who lived in the park across the street.

The lay person was an official in the state government. He was about as high as you could get without being an elected politician.

He was crying.

After the service I asked him if everything was okay. It wasn't. He'd been crying because he knew what the short-sightedness of the new budget was going to do to folks like the one he shared the hymnal with.

Christopher said...

Man, QP that's quite powerful!

Rainbow Pastor said...

Preach it, QP and LC! Amen!

LutheranChik said...

BTW, I just e-mailed my U.S. senators and congressperson regarding this issue. "Go thou and do likewise.";-)