Proverbs 20:13 Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor will also cry out and not be answered.
This is a reoccurring theme throughout the Old Testament most famously articulated in the echoed in the New Testament letter of James 1:27 where it says, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
The basis of James pronouncement comes from Deuteronomy 10:18, where Moses says of God, “He doesn’t play favourites, takes no bribes, makes sure orphans and widows are treated fairly, takes loving care of foreigners by seeing that they get food and clothing.” (The Message Paraphrase)
In our world today, these words from Proverbs, Deuteronomy and James stand in stark contrast to the way Governments, Societies and Communities treat the vulnerable.
In one of Dr Seuss’ books there is a lovely story about Horton the Elephant. “One day, Horton the elephant hears a cry from help coming from a speck of dust. Even though he can’t see anyone on the speck, he decides to help it. As it turns out, the speck of dust is home to the Whos, who live in their city of Whoville. Horton agrees to help protect the Whos and their home, but this gives him nothing but torment from his neighbours, who refuse to believe that anything could survive on the speck. Still, Horton stands by the motto that, "After all, a person is a person, no matter how small."
There is the kernel of gospel in this story. A person’s a person, no matter how small. Here we find crucial element is God’s scheme of things. It is a basic idea in God’s kingdom. A person’s a person, no matter how small. Just scan the gospels and you will find how Jesus Ministry was riven reaching for the ‘Whos’ of society. Perhaps opening our ears to the cry of the poor is a good place to start our God given Ministry.
We thank you, God,
for coming to us as a neighbour, a stranger, an immigrant,
binding our wounds and carrying us to safety,
so that we might love you with all our heart, soul, and mind,
and welcome the stranger,
loving our neighbour as ourselves. Amen