Why are people poor?
We all know plenty of stories of extreme poverty, especially from writers of the 19th century, writers like Victor Hugo and Les Miserables and Charles Dickens and Oliver. We shudder when we look back at those times, when children could receive the death penalty for stealing a loaf of bread, and parents could spent all the years of their lives in debtor’s prison. However, are we doing so much better today? Are our laws and our attitudes geared towards helping people out of poverty or is the opposite true?
Biblical law demands that the people of God give special care to the poor, to widows, orphans, female and male slaves, immigrants, travelers, and debtors. This ancient law does not overlook the poor and vulnerable, nor does it add punishment to a situation, which is difficult enough for them. No, in the Hebrew law code the widows, the orphans, the immigrants, the slaves, and the animals are protected. It enables relief and a new start for people buried in debt. It provides food for those in need, and rest for hard workers. This is a law, we can learn from.
Rev. Kristin Luana Baumann, sermon, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Port Angeles WA.
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