It cannot be denied that too often the weight of the Christian movement has been on the side of the strong and the powerful and against the weak and oppressed -this, despite the gospel. Howard Thurman
Meditation: Christianity started as a small movement of followers of Jesus. They were generally poor and experienced oppression. Many also died from persecution, as they held onto their relationship with Jesus, their teacher and leader who stood up for the poor, sick, downtrodden and forgotten. It was only when Christianity became the Roman state religion that Christians switched sides. When politics and power suddenly became possibilities for the still young religion, things changed. As humans we have the psychological tendency to switch from having been the oppressed to becoming the oppressors. We change from the persecuted to becoming persecutors, from having been the powerless to wanting to remain powerful. Since that time the seduction and the choice for every Christian is: “Do I remain a follower of this Jesus who stood in for the poor, the sick and the forgotten and whom we claim to be the son of God?” or “Do I want to be part of a powerful Christian religion, become a representative of the main stream institution and take advantage of the cultural phenomenon of Christianity?” How we answer this question will determine everything. It will make us choose the side we will be on and the perspective with which we will see the world. Ultimately this decision will either connect or disconnect us from the teachings and life of Jesus, the Christ.
Prayer: God of ages, You have always stood up for the poor and the helpless. Even in the Jewish Scriptures You are shown to always defending and protecting them. Jesus took Your attributes of ages past and embodied them for all to see and experience. God of today, Jesus taught us to pray “lead us not into temptation”. And so we pray: “lead us through the temptation” we are constantly in: namely to choose the side of Christianity as religion, as institution and as cultural phenomenon instead of becoming or remaining followers of Jesus while choosing the side of the weak and the oppressed, the poor and the helpless. God, we pray: “deliver us from evil.” Amen
Don’t take advantage of the poor just because you can; don’t take advantage of those who stand helpless in court. The Lord will argue their case for them and threaten the life of anyone who threatens theirs. (Proverbs 22:22-23)