Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Musing While Meandering

The other day I took a walk on a bike path near my home. Looking over at a building, I noted that someone had scrawled a message on it:

The irony of seeing this Marxist slogan ("From each according to his ability; to each according to his need") during a time of bitter debate over health care in America made me chuckle.  Conservatives have been utilizing scare tactics (death panels and increased costs) and screaming about the evils of socialism.  I trust that those conservatives who are standing against health care reform are not basing it on their religious conviction. As one astute blog writer asked: "I can't think of one religious reason against health care reform--can you?"  The writer reminded us that religious traditions all hold a basic concern with the well-being of persons.  Affordable, accessible health care is a pretty basic requirement in order to provide a foundation for well-being.

When I read scripture, I see that care for the poor and most vulnerable among us is a sacred duty.  In fact, those of us with wealth have much to answer for.  Jesus rebukes the rich young ruler who wanted to follow him. Jesus tells him all he has to do is "Sell all that you own and distribute the money to the poor." (Luke 18:22). 

The early church took this to heart. In the book of Acts, we are told that "the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need." (Acts 4:32-35).

The rich sold their possessions and gave it for the common good??? Not a needy person among them??? One has to wonder if Marx had read Acts...and if conservatives simply skipped over that part of the Bible.

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