Rich and Poor, Poor and Rich
Carolyn Brock of Redmond, OR, USA
May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face to shine upon us, Selah
that your way may be known upon earth,
your saving power among all nations.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.
Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you judge the peoples with equity
and guide the nations upon earth. -Psalm 67:1-4
I am often surprised by a joyful, tenacious energy running through the lives of those who have few visible reasons for it. I have been humbled by delicious meals prepared by women who killed the chicken, carried water, cooked over open flames or a small charcoal-burning “jiko.” I’ve been healed by the four-part harmony of a singing, swaying troupe of African youth dancing their way into a worship service. I’ve been gifted beyond what I deserved by open-handed Tahitians offering me treasures I didn’t feel they should part with. I’ve been included in Native American feasts and powwows as a friend of the community when I could have been rejected as a clueless intruder. I’ve had Spirit rise up beneath my hands and whisper, “This one is known and beloved by me,” as I confirmed African nomads as members in our faith community. I’ve been surrounded by laughing women as they dressed me in African cloth or an Indian sari or Tahitian garb topped off with a “crown” of fragrant flowers.
I have also been humbled by the creative genius and selfless generosity of people we call “the rich.” I’ve had my assumptions and stereotypes disproven by the compassionate warmth and presence of wealthy friends who long for authentic community in a world that values them primarily for the resources they possess. I’ve heard the stories of those who are rich who have gone to be with those who are poor at great expense and risk. I’ve witnessed the grateful tears of those who are rich for gifts of heart and spirit they received from those who are poor.
We can be poor in many ways. We can be rich in many ways. Jesus invites us to examine our attitudes and attachments related to our possessions. Spiritual freedom found in the good news of God’s love is the persistent message Christ offers to all.
“The glory of God is the human person fully alive” (St. Irenaeus).
Enter a time of prayer and hold St. Irenaeus’ quote in your heart. How do your mind, body, heart, and soul work together for your aliveness in God each day? What does it mean in your life and ministry that God desires for each of us to be fully alive?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
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