Through this current church season I have been using...and adapting the liturgical material from Spill the Beans Issue 6. Yesterday I presented these facts for the United States. Spill the Beans used data from the UK. I don't know about the congregation but these numbers astounded me.
Jesus said God had chosen him to bring the good news...so today has God chosen us, you and me, to bring the good news of God's kingdom to these folks? I believe he has.
May God bless you all this week as you labor doing God's work with the gifts he's given you.
Voice A: Today we are told: ‘There are 16.4 million children living in poverty in the US right now. That’s 22 per cent of the children, or more than one in five according to 2010 census. They are 24% of the total population but 36% of the poor population.’
Voice B: But Jesus tells us: ‘He has chosen me to bring good news to the poor.’
Voice A: Today we are told: ‘A report on human trafficking in the United States says that human trafficking is the 2nd fastest growing criminal industry next to drug trafficking. Children account for roughly one-half of all the victims. Of 2,515 cases in 2010 more than 1,000 involved children. It is estimated to be a $32 billion dollar industry. There are 27 million people around the world who are enslaved. The U.S. Department of State estimates 14,500 to 17,500 people per year are brought in for the purpose of labor or sex exploitation.
Voice B: But Jesus tells us: ‘He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives.’
Voice A: Today we are told: ‘The FDIC and Federal Reserve offices stated the cause of the majority of bank failures, 2008-2011, were aggressive growth strategies, high risk taking, and uninformed or inattentive management. In this period 414 U.S. banks failed.’ They lost their way and sought profit for the shareholders only and forgot the people who trusted them with their life savings.
Voice B: But Jesus tells us: ‘He has sent me to proclaim recovery of sight to the blind.’
Voice A: Today we are told: ‘Reports say that one-half of the nation’s violent crimes, 3.4 million, go unreported. Domestic abuse statistics say that 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are assaulted by their partners. Data shows that 3 million children are witnesses to domestic violence’
Voice B: But Jesus tells us: ‘I have come to set free the oppressed.’
Voice A: Today we are told: ‘This has been with us always.’
Voice B: But Jesus tells us: ‘Within your hearing these things have come true. By hearing them, believing them, trusting them, living them, these words have come true. Let not the world shout loudest. Let our loudest word be our actions within the world.’
Manifesto: as political as they come; as challenging as they come; as life changing as they come.
Such was Jesus’ manifesto written long ago, brought to life in the Son of God, harnessing the power of the Spirit.
Not popular in some quarters, radicals never are, but when they saw all those grand old words being lived out, after centuries of gathering dust, folk couldn’t help but get upset as they were confronted with a way of living that they could easily embrace if they could shake off their apathy, built up over the years and tamped down into a solid seemingly unmovable mass.
Not rocket science. Not even political science. But simple undiluted love: the kind that’s buried deep within, waiting to be kindled and coaxed into flame, so that the poor hear good news, captives are released, the blind can see and the oppressed go free. That’s some Manifesto!
Spill the Beans Issue 6