Acts 4:32-37 gives us a glimpse into what could be reality: a community in which there are no lasting needy among us, for all sell or give away what they have that they do not need using the extra items of moneys to help meet the needs of those coming on hard times. This flies in the face of our culture’s constant messages to work more hours, to acquire more things, because of how our society views your worth by what you have, in terms of possessions, wealth, & title. In fact, one group that it is still treated as acceptable to make fun of are the poor. Just watch a facebook feed, for pictures of poor people and their families at Walmart or seeking social services being turned into the butt of all jokes. Since American culture says the strong man or woman pulls themselves up by the boot straps, achieving success on their own, we tend to assume that person sitting in tattered clothes on the street corner, standing in line at the social services office for support, or using the Food Stamp card in front of us in line is somehow less than us. We do not what they have faced that brought them to be in need. Many of them, if we got to know them personally, are just like us but facing situations we never expected.
Acts 4:32-37 paints a picture in which we do not view those who have and those who have not as opposites who can judge each other, but as parts of one body the human race whose destiny is interwoven. Dr. King used to say that we are bound together by a common garment of destiny so that what happens to one of us singly affects all of us collectively. It is such an approach, which views every person and life as sacred, and the building up of the community through works of mercy, of justice, which strengthen all around us. When thinking of the sort of attitude the Spirit is inviting us to let Her awaken in us with Her mothering love, I cannot but think of the words Rev. Hugh Hollowell of Love Wins shared with me recently. In a message about the struggle of the poor in our country, Hugh writes, “How could God allow such a thing? I no longer ask that, because I believe God has a plan … God’s plan is us. Those of us who live in the US live in a nation that throws away 40% of all the food we purchase, yet on the remaining 60% of the food, one in three of us manages to become obese. So let’s not say there is not enough food. Despite the abundance of food, some 17 million children in our own country go to bed hungry at night. Know why? Because none of those children know you. Because if you knew that Darius, who is 7 and lives at 1410 Elm Avenue, Apt #4, was hungry, you would get that kid some food. But you don’t know Darius- so he goes hungry.”
Oh Lord, help me lay aside the world’s emphasis on me and mine, learning to see my neighbor as a part of me and me as a part of them. Help us to learn to realize our possessions as not ours alone, but your gifts placed in our hands to better our world. Give us eyes to see your children all around us, and hearts to help use the gifts you’ve given us for their help and healing as well as our own. In Christ and by His Spirit, Amen.