Clothed with compassion

Sunday, May 6

Acts 9:36-43

Around 1967, a visitor came to worship at the church that my family attended. He was a minister on leave from his parish while he worked for Lyndon Johnson’s war on poverty. I remember watching him in the narthex. He would lean his whole body into his conversation partner’s space, and in a raised, urgent tone he would voice the same refrain to everyone, “We could do more.”

There is more we could do. We address the emergency needs of persons living in poverty, but we do far less to understand and undertake long-term measures that might break cycles of poverty over generations. Jesus told us the poor will always be with us, but neglected to explain why two out of three of those poor persons would be women, or why, even in 2001, a woman over the age of 60 is twice as likely to be impoverished as a man.

 

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