|August 25, 2020
” Rather than rushing to return to a toxic ” normal” , we should acknowledge the widespread failings of prepandemic society and seize this opportunity to work toward a more empathetic and equitable world, “ Tessa McWatt from the Globe and Mail , Saturday August 8, 2020.
After reading from Isaiah, Jesus sat down and said , ” Today, this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing .” ( Luke 4:21). He was preaching at the synagogue in his hometown of Nazareth. The passage from Isaiah is from the Isaiah 61, where the prophet announces the world will be turned upside down. The poor will replace the rich and powerful. The last will become the first. It will be the new kingdom. Jesus tells two stories from outside of the Jewish faith, and the crowd’s response is to want to kill him. What is everybody so upset with Jesus , for announcing God’s plan ?
Since the pandemic began, many people have had their economic life turned the wrong way. The government set up CERB to help those who needed the extra help. Many other countries have done this as well. Some have given people a guaranteed basic income for the time being. Before the pandemic ( when was that again ), there was the story that many people in North America were just a paycheck away from being at risk for their economic well-being. Now, thousands more people need the services of food banks. People cannot pay their rent. And, the major companies in the stock market are making billions of dollars, Amazon, Walmart, Netflix and others. The world has not upended the powerful. The Kingdom of God has not come quite yet. How can we change the world ?
What is the new normal that we want to live in ? How can we live out Ms. McWatt’s idea of being more empathetic and more equal ? How can we as a church and society live in equality, so that no one is left behind. We have universal health care in Canada, and so what would it look like for us to have a universal basic income ? Dealing with homelessness/poverty costs us a lot of money in Canada. What if a basic income for all, would be cheaper than what we pay for homeless and poverty concerns ? How do you think we can treat everyone equally ? The church needs to be part of the solution.
Prayer ( from Isaiah 61 )
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor. AMEN
Tread on bold new paths !
Fireflies flash the direction
Hope springs eternal
Monica Pieper Landoni 2020
Fred Redekop Pastor Poole Mennonite Church