Hope, Struggle and Change

by Elias Blum

It’s time to sing good old ‘social gospel’ hymn:


And, just in case there are any gnat-straining camel-swallowers out there who think all this is irrelevant to ‘true Christianity’, it might be worth a few choice quotes (just to show that progressives can proof-text too):

“Shame on you! you who make unjust laws and publish burdensome decrees, depriving the poor of justice, robbing the weakest of my people of their rights, despoiling the widow and plundering the orphan. What will you do when called to account, when ruin from afar confronts you? To whom will you flee for help?” (Isaiah 10:1-3)

“Men shall build houses and live to inhabit them, plant vineyards and eat their fruit; they shall not build for others to inhabit nor plant for others to eat. My people shall live the long life of a tree, and my chosen shall enjoy the fruit of their labor. They shall not toil in vain or raise children for misfortune. . . They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, says the Lord.” (Isaiah 65: 19, 21-23, 25)

“This was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride of wealth and food in plenty, comfort and ease, and yet she never helped the poor and the wretched.” (Ezekiel 16:49)

“While we try to amass wealth, make piles of money, get hold of the land as our real property, overtop one another in riches, we have palpably cast off justice, and lost the common good. I should like to know how any man can be just, who is deliberately aiming to get out of someone else what he wants for himself.” (St Basil)

“How far will your mad lusts take you, ye rich people, till you dwell alone on the earth? Why do you at once turn nature out of doors, and claim the possession of her for your own selves? The land was made for all; why do you rich men claim it as your private property?” (St Ambrose)

“Week by week you come to the Lord’s table to receive bread and wine. What do these things mean to you? Do you regard them merely as some kind of spiritual medicine, which will purge your soul, like a laxative may purge your body? Or do you sometimes wonder what God is saying in these simple¬†elements? Bread and wine represent the fruits of our labor, whereby we turn the things of nature into food and drink for our sustenance. So at the Lord’s table we offer our labor to God, dedicating ourselves anew to his service. Then the bread and the wine are distributed equally to every member of the congregation; the poor receive the same amount as the rich. This means that God’s material blessings belong equally to everyone, to be enjoyed according to each person’s need. The whole ceremony is also a meal at which everyone has an equal place at the table.” (St John Chrysostom).

Amen.

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