God calls us to fight inequality
Philip Young reminds us of the inequalities that exist in the world today, and calls us to action.
When Jesus told the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus it was a warning that we should notice the poor amongst us and take good care of them. In case you don't know the parable, it can be found in the Gospel of Luke 16 v 19-31.
Too much inequality between rich and poor is not good for us or for society. All human beings deserve the opportunity to live without grinding poverty. The cost-of-living crisis means that many in our own country are having to make the choice between keeping their family fed or keeping them warm. In other countries the situation is even more distressing. After the earthquake in Turkey and Syria many are left bereaved, homeless, hungry, and cold. Many Ukrainians have been left devastated by the war and at present there seems no foreseeable end to their suffering.
The story of the Rich Man and Lazarus should challenge all of us, who have more wealth and more choices and opportunities, to care about those in the world who are struggling with poverty and who face very little chance of finding their way out of their situation without help from the rest of us.
This is a problem for all of us and I offer my poem to you called, ‘The challenge of inequality’
I am love - I do not like inequality.
When one person has too much, and others have not enough, then I am sad.
It is not good for the person who accumulates too much.
Or for the poor person who suffers through want of their basic needs.
Both are poor.
One is poor in basic wants and the other lives a poor life as long as suffering exists.
We are all connected to one another.
Kindness and love lead us to share - To sleep not well until all have enough.
Love calls us to action.
What action does love call us to? Can I encourage you to care by giving something to the Disasters Emergency Committee? They are seeking help with the Turkey-Syria Appeal and another for the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal, as well as the Pakistan Floods Appeal (see their website www.dec.org.uk)
Love calls us to try and bring about more equality in our own country. I think we should be very concerned at the worry and the anxiety that is facing roughly a third of our own people. The cost-of-living crisis is a present political crisis which is a challenge to all political parties. We must give help and hope to those who do not know how they are going to pay their energy and food bills, otherwise there will be a revolt on our hands greater than the revolt over the Poll Tax more than 30 years ago.
I think we need to feel cross about the inequality in our country. And then we need to act in love to help people and bring about a more equal society. How can it be OK that there is such a wide gap between rich and poor? How can it be right that the State Pension is £9,627 per year, but that the average top executive for a Water Company earns on average £600,000 per year? How is it right that the average wage for a Premier League footballer is £3 million a year, but that a £20 a week cut to Universal Credit was made in October 2021 to those who were already on the breadline?
We need a radical rethink. Leaving it all to market forces does not work. Redistribution of wealth is necessary. Those who earn more must be asked to give more in taxes. Those companies making huge profits must be taxed more. Those who just cannot afford to pay their bills are left with nowhere to go. Are we to reopen the workhouses for those who can’t repay their debts? Those who have more must help those who have nothing left.
We cannot ignore the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. We cannot ignore the poor in our own time. If we fail to act in love to help the poor then we are failing to act for our loving God.
image by Frantisek Krejci from Pixabay
Philip is an Anglican, Quaker, and a member of the Third Order of Franciscans, and lives in Felixstowe. Until July 2014 he was the Diocesan Environmental Officer for the Norwich Diocese, and stood as an independent candidate in the June 2017 general election. He is now Associate Priest at St. John and St. Edmund in Felixstowe and a freelance writer on spiritual and political matters. He is available to run Quiet Days, give talks, presentations or to preach and is willing to speak up against the present war being waged by Russia and would welcome invitations from radio, television, or any other interested group. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit Philip’s website at www.revolutionoflovenow.com.
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